The 8-year-old child suffered injuries to his face and head during the attack
An 8-year-old Colorado boy is back to playing with his big brother after a terrifying mountain lion attack last week.
A 65-pound mountain lion attacked Pike Carlson while he was playing with his older brother Gage in his backyard in Bailey. Pike said when the mountain lion grabbed him, he knew he had to fight back.
I was just punching, trying to grab anything that I can, like a stick, Pike told 9News. I did find a stick and I tried to get it in the eye but soon the stick snapped.
When Gage ran into his house to tell his parents what happened, his dad, Ron Carlson, ran outside to a horrifying site.
The mountain lion had grabbed Pike by the head and dragged him under a tree.
That parental instinct to protect your child kind of kicks in," Ron said. "It never even entered my head that I was about to tangle with something that could kill me. All you know is you have to do something. It doesn't matter what happens to you, you've got to protect your children.
Pike was also doing his part to protect himself.
He told me 'Dad, all animals have a vulnerable spot, their eyeballs'," Ron said. "So he picked up a stick that was underneath the tree and was reaching back trying to poke it in the eye.
The lion let go of Pike just as Ron got to his son. From there it was a race to save his life.
"When I first picked him up, I could see the whole side of his face was open. There was blood all over him. His scalp was ripped open in several spots. It was something that no parent should ever see.
The family drove Pike to the Platte Canyon Fire Protection District. Paramedics then took him to Swedish Medical Center where he had two surgeries and needed dozens of stitches and staples to close the wounds.
That first night in the hospital, even though the doctors were saying it's going to be OK, I just kept flashing back to what could have happened, said Julie Carlson, Pike's mother. What if Gage, my oldest, didn't get to him in time? What if my husband didn't get to him in time?
Pike likely still needs another surgery to repair his eyelid that was injured in the attack, but is otherwise recovering well with quite a story to tell.
The mountain lion is a cheater, Pike said as he smiled. No one try to wrestle a mountain lion. It is a cheater.
The Carlson family says they are grateful to the firefighters and doctors who took care of their child as if he were one of their own.
If you would like to help with the family's medical bills, you can do so through their GoFundMe account.