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Injured boy sets sights on fishing, riding bike at home

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The Risland brothers, Zechariah, top left, Jacob, bottom left, and Isaiah Risland, bottom right, are shown with cousin Isabelle Staley, top right, in this 2010 family photo. The Risland brothers and their father, Dan Risland, were in a sailboat Friday, April 6, 2012, when it sank in Clearwater Lake. Zechariah and Jacob died, apparently from hypothermia, while Isaiah is hospitalized at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. SUBMITTED PHOTO2 / 2

ST. PAUL - Isaiah Risland hopes to go fishing and ride his bike at home this summer, signs the 8-year-old Leonard boy is progressing after his near fatal injuries in an April 6 sailboat accident.

He's switched hospitals, rode a bike during rehabilitation therapy outside and attended church Sunday.

"He is looking great and working hard at all his therapies so that he can get back up north and play outside," aunt Tia Wallin wrote Sunday in a journal posting on the CaringBridge website.

"He's talking about going fishing this summer and riding his bike so he has his goals that he is working towards and that can be a great motivator."

Isaiah moved from Children's Hospital in Minneapolis to Gillette Hospital in St. Paul last week. Wallin said the new location is more specialized for Isaiah's rehabilitation.

Dan Risland and his three boys, including Isaiah, were sailing on Clearwater Lake, which straddles the border of Clearwater and Beltrami counties, in 10-foot fiberglass boat when it sank about 3 p.m. April 6. The father swam to shore to summon help after being unable to get the boys to land.

The boys were wearing life jackets, but spent about an hour in 40-degree water until first responders could reach them.

Isaiah's brothers, 6-year-old Zechariah and 2-year-old Jacob, died in the accident, apparently from hypothermia. Emergency crews revived Isaiah, who was airlifted to Minneapolis.

In other highlights from Wallin's writings, Isaiah has custom leg braces to help him move around and is allowed to eat and drink freely. He's also regaining movement in his right fingers and toes.

"This is ok, it takes the brain time to relearn how to send signals to all the different parts of the body and is nothing to worry about," Wallin wrote.

Those interested in sending cards to Isaiah can address them to Gillette's Children's Specialty Healthcare, Attention Rehabilitation/Neurology, Isaiah Risland, 200 University Ave. E., St. Paul, MN 55101.


Visit Isaiah Risland's CaringBridge website at

Steve Wagner

Grand Forks Herald Editor Steve Wagner can be reached at 701.780.1104 and He joined the Herald in April 2013, and previously worked as editor at the Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer and in several roles -- including news director, investigative reporter and crime reporter - at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. His reporting experience includes coverage of Dru Sjodin's disappearance and the federal death penalty case for her murderer, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., along with several investigative projects. In his spare time, Wagner is an avid runner and occasionally writes about his experiences on his blog, Addicted to Running.

(701) 780-1104