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A 13-year-old boy in the US state of Alabama regained consciousness just after his parents signed the paperwork to donate his organs.

Trenton McKinley suffered severe brain trauma when a utility trailer he was riding flipped over and fell on his head in March.The teenager suffered seven skull fractures in the accident in Mobile, Alabama.

Doctors told his parents he would not recover and that he matched with five children who needed organ transplants. A day before his life support was to end, Trenton showed signs of awareness.

According to his mother, Jennifer Reindl, Trenton has since undergone several craniotomy surgeries, suffering kidney failure and cardiac arrest. At one point, Ms Reindl said, Trenton died on the table for 15 minutes, after which doctors told her he would “never be normal again”.

After being declared brain dead and his parents signed paperwork to donate his organs to save five other children. “We said yes, that also ensured that they would continue to keep Trenton alive to clean his organs for the donation,” Ms Reindl said, recalling how her son regained consciousness in March.

“The next day he was scheduled to have his final brain wave test to call his time of death, but his vitals spiked so they cancelled the test.” “It was unfair to keep bringing him back, because it was just damaging his organs even more,” Jennifer said.

But then, the day before doctors were set to take him off life support, Trenton woke up. Now he’s in rehab, and although he has a long road ahead, he’s getting stronger every day.

“There’s no other explanation but God. There’s no other way that I could have came back.”

These cases are fairly rare, reports CBS News medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula. She says while it’s hard to know what exactly happened with this case because of privacy laws, the story does give people a reason to hope.