10-year-old boy loses leg in lawnmower accident

Posted at 6:40 PM, Jul 25, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-26 19:20:19-04

FREDRICKSBURG, Va. (WTVR) - A young boy, helping his family with their landscaping business, lost part of his leg after a lawnmower accident.

Video from last year's family vacation shows then nine-year-old Jeremy Klingbeil on top of the world, rock climbing and jumping in to a lake to swim. Almost one year later, Klingbeil faces a much different set of circumstances.

"This wasn't slow motion--it happened so quick,” said his father Rick Klingbeil.

Just over two weeks ago Jeremy was with his father and older brother helping with a lawn mowing job. Jeremy's mower had some mechanical trouble and his 16-year-old brother, who started the business,  came to help with his push mower still running. Then, Jeremy's foot slipped underneath the mower, with the blade still spinning.

"The first thing I saw was my hopes and dreams for him being changed,” said Klingbeil.

After a helicopter ride to VCU Medical Center, doctors told the family that trying to save the foot would greatly limit Jeremy's mobility.

"It was a tough conversation but at this point everybody got it and we knew what we were up against," said Klingbeil.

Jeremy's foot and part of his leg were amputated. His father and brother have shared feelings of remorse over what happened that day.

"As a dad because you think you're going to be there and going to supervise it that everything is going to be okay," said Kligbeil. 

The should-haves and would-haves are put away for now. The focus is getting Jeremy to find his footing again and move toward recovery and eventually a prosthetic leg.

Klingbeil said he is inspired by his son's strength and optimism.

"He tells me this is just another scrape on the knee that's the way he looks at it," he said.

Lawnmower related accidents are not rare. Last year more than 250,000 people were treated for mower-related injuries, and yearly 600 children receive amputations as a result of the accidents.

Because of these statistics the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons suggests that only children over age 16 be allowed to ride on a lawnmower and only children over age 12 be allowed to push one.