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U of M rising star in critical condition after being knocked off bike

Robert Cook is trying to regain his mobility since the crash.

A rising star student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is in a critical condition in hospital after being knocked off his bike last week.

Senior Robert Cook, 21, was hit by an SUV at 11 a.m. last Thursday at Southeast Huron Boulevard and Fulton Street Southeast.

He has since been treated at Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was taken with serious spinal injuries sustained in the collision.

A GoFundMe page set up to help with his medical expensive has so far raised more than $11,000 toward his medical expenses.

In an update posted on Tuesday, his girlfriend Rita Kwakye writes that Cook has not yet regained his ability to speak, and has been communicating using his eyes. He has been able to move his shoulders and neck, however.

He suffered injuries to three of his spinal vertebrae, requiring surgery to stabilize, with his family still waiting to see his range of mobility.

He is studying kinesiology at the U of M with the intention of becoming a physical therapist, and is heavily involved in campus life.

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He is the vice president of the Black Student Union, is president of the Pi Eta chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, and a leader at the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence.

He's a former student of Brooklyn Center High School, where he was president of the National Honor Society and a successful long-distance track running, the Homecoming King and captain of the soccer team.

Kwakye says that if he hadn't been wearing his bicycle helmet for the crash, he likely would have died.

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