The North Bend Eagle

  Virka family
Ian Virka, flanked by parents Mike and Chris, survived a scary head injury after a fall this September.

Virkas thankful youngest around to celebrate Christmas

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 12/21/16

Christmas at the Virka house will have a little special meaning this year. Mainly because they will all be there. It just about wasn’t to be earlier this fall.

Ian Virka is your typical middle schooler. Full of energy, loves to be with friends, a little daring at times. After homecoming Sept. 16 at North Bend Central the seventh grader had some friends over to spend the night.

Ian, Kaden Juhl and Travis Byrd were downstairs playing catch with a foam ball at his parents’ home south of Morse Bluff. When the ball got stuck on a rafter, Ian decided to jump to try to retrieve it. Never mind there was a ladder near by or taller people in the house who could easily reach it. He jumped off a couch arm and hit the ball but did not knock the ball down, landing on his feet. On his second jump he caught hold of the rafter, but then lost his grip and flew, falling to the cement floor, hitting his head hard.

“The momentum made me fall backwards and I landed knees over my head,” Ian said.

His friends said he was unconscious for a moment but they quickly called for Ian’s parents, Mike and Chris Virka, who were upstairs. Brother Michael was the first one down and he quickly called the others including his friend, Madison Walla, a nursing student.

Ian’s eyes were rolled back in his head and he was combative. He was holding his left side of his head. All he would say was “Mommy,” “it hurts” and “stop.”
Chris tried to comfort him, but he wouldn’t let her touch him. Madison was able to comfort him some, and she was the one who said he needed to be taken to the hospital. The family took him to the Fremont hospital. Dad Mike stayed at home. Kaden and Travis went with them to tell the doctors what had happened.

On the way to the hospital Madison was the only one who could calm Ian. Once they arrived at the hospital, Chris ran in and got help. Ian had projectile voming and tried to get away. The hospital attendants secured Ian on a gurney to get him in the emergency room.

“He was combative the whole time,” Mike said. “Especially with his older brother. He doesn’t fight his older brother. Something wasn’t right.”
Once in the ER, Ian was assessed, sedated and an MRI ordered. The MRI showed four brain bleeds, two in front, two in back, and a skull fracture on the left side of his head.

This is where the story gets interesting.

While sedated and in the MRI tube, technicians reported hearing Ian talking to a Tanner, asking him not to let him die. All of sudden Ian was calm.

Tanner Mertz was an assistant wrestling coach at NBC for three years before his death in an automobile accident in March 2013. The Virka’s older sons had been coached by Mertz and the family was deeply touched by the tragedy.

“I don’t remember seeing him,” Ian said. “I remember him talking to me, telling me ‘You’ll be ok.’ All of a sudden I saw God. He said you’re not going to die... yet.”
Ian described God as “not having long hair like the pictures at church. He had shorter shaggy hair, stubble for a beard and he had his robe on.”

After the MRI results came in, it was decided to life flight Ian to University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha at 3:30 a.m. He does not remember the flight at all.


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