L.B. teen struck by SUV is ‘improving’

Wrestling coach says student has been taken out of ICU


Abdul Bird, the 14-year-old Long Beach Middle School student who was hit by an SUV while skateboarding on Lido Boulevard at Greenway Road on June 19, continues to show signs of improvement, according to his wrestling coach, Miguel Rodriguez.

“Abdul has been taken out of the ICU and relocated to the adolescent recovery unit,” Rodriguez said after visiting Bird on June 24 at North Shore-LIJ. “His condition is improving. He is responding to commands, but still unable to speak.”

After a visit from his wrestling coach last week, Bird was said to be moving his arms and legs, but was still unconscious.

“He opened his eyes for me and nodded his head when I asked him questions,” Rodriguez said.

Police said the incident occurred at 7:55 a.m. on June 19, when a 2011 Mercedes Benz travelling west on Lido Boulevard struck the eighth-grader, who was skateboarding east. According to 4th Squad detectives, Bird was taken to Long Beach Medical Center and then airlifted to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, where he was listed in critical condition.

He was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, and Nassau County Police Department spokesman James Imperiale said that Bird sustained a serious head injury. He was later transferred to North Shore-LIJ.

Schools Superintendent David Weiss said that Bird, a member of the Long Beach Gladiators wrestling team, was on his way to the middle school for a rehearsal for Wednesday’s moving up ceremony when the incident occurred. Bird’s family could not be reached for comment.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the student and his family and friends,” Weiss said in a statement. “We hope for a full and quick recovery.”

Bird’s doctors have declined to provide an update on his condition.

Alex Michelman, whose son was on the wrestling team with Bird, said that stretch of Lido Blvd. is particularly hazardous for students who walk to school because sections of the sidewalks are in disrepair.

“When I rode my bike to the middle school last year … there was anywhere from four- to six-inches of sidewalk lift; enough to bend the rim on a bike and certainly no way that a kid on a skateboard could navigate those types of discrepancies,” Michelman said. “And yet hundreds of school children on a daily basis are required to walk on those streets. You can’t ride on the sidewalk — it’s hazardous — so these kids are forced to the street.”

Rodriguez said donations for Bird and his family can be made out to LB-USA Wrestling Club and mailed to 265 W. Chester St. Donations will be collected up until Saturday, June 30.

“Let’s show Abdul and his family that once you are a Long Beach wrestler, you’ll never walk alone,” Rodriguez said.