LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Nearly a year following a crash in Snyder, Will Jordan is already getting back to swinging a baseball bat, but a year ago, the family wasn’t sure he would be able to keep his leg.
In September of 2018, 11-year-old Will and his mom, Kristi, were riding in a utility vehicle around a house while on a family trip to dove hunt.
“Will was driving and I was in the passenger seat and he turned and went down a little hill in the driveway,” Kristi said. “The front driver-side wheel just sunk in some loose gravel. We were doing maybe six or seven miles an hour. It literally tipped in slow motion. When it started to tip, he jumped out. When he jumped out, the Ranger tipped and the roof pinned his left leg underneath the roof to the gravel.”
Kristi crawled out of the overturned vehicle with a broken arm. She could hear Will calling for her.
“I saw my leg and I laid back because I didn’t want to look at it,” Will said. “There was skin over here and over there. You could see the bone. It wasn’t fun.”
Will had a broken Tibia, the shin bone, that had come through the skin of his leg. They didn’t know that the crushing of his leg also made the skin start dying and it would eventually be “degloved.”
A relative on their trip had just received a RN licence and was employed in UMC’s ER. She helped stabilize Will before he was airlifted to UMC at the family’s insistence.
“We had to drive from Snyder,” Kristi said. “In hindsight, we didn’t know but UMC is exactly where we needed to be.”
Dr. Michel Diab, an orthopedic surgeon, performed Will’s first surgery to begin to repair the broken bone.
“After he got out of his first surgery, his leg, the picture we got of his leg, it looked awesome,” Will’s dad, David, said. “His leg looked great. We were all amazed. Of course, after that it all started because [the skin] went through so much trauma it all started dying off. Every time we went in, it was a little more, a little more died off and had to be cut away.”
Dr. Diab explains that Will experienced a “crush injury” and the skin lost all vascular connection that comes from deeper layers.
“The lack of blood supply, those signs show up later,” Dr. Diab said. “After two or three days, the skin starts to become more purplish. Four or five days later you can see that the dead skin is showing up.”
In Will’s four-day stay in PICU and additional 10 days hospitalized at UMC, they did repetitive washing and uses of a wound vac on exposed areas. This helped with tissue formation that would be acceptable for a skin graft. It also helped prevent any need for amputation.
“The leg had no skin,” Dr. Diab said. “He had some muscles in the back, 70 percent of his calf muscles, 50 percent of his anterior and later compartment of the leg. But, he had no tissue covering the tibia, the bone. He had no cover of his fracture. That by itself is a high risk of amputation if you are not able to cover the bone.”
Kristi said it was hard to understand the value of skin to a broken bone and complications with losing skin. She and David sought the honesty of Will’s care takers.
“When we asked that question, ‘Do you think there is a chance we lose this leg?,’” Kristi said. “He literally stood up and put his hands down and said ‘Not an option on my table.’ That’s when we knew we had the right doctor.”
Will had four additional hospitalizations, spending a total of 24 days in UMC. He had 14 surgeries, some of them for skin grafting on his leg.
Will said some days were difficult in the hospital but he welcomed the Child Life Specialists who helped reduce stress and anxiety. He said nurses, like Asma, made some of the time fun when she set up a basketball goal in his room.
“The people that have been around us and that have helped us has been amazing and them all trying to get me better and helping out,” Will said.
Will currently is on crutches and wears a boot to help protect his leg. He uses a orthogenix bone stimulator for three hours a day. He said the hardest part of recovery has been not getting to be a part of his favorite sport, baseball.
“It’s way worse being in a hospital than out on a baseball field,” Ulysses Gomez, Will’s friend and teammate, said. “This is where his dreams are.”
Ryan Rodriguez is a coach with Lubbock-Cooper Little League. He knew of Will’s accident and knew how much he would desire being on the diamond this year. That’s why he asked Will to help coach his team.
“I didn’t want him to be sad or get in a state of mind to where he’s seeing all these other kids playing and he wants to be a part of it but didn’t know how to be a part of it,” Rodriguez said.
Will said he was ecstatic when he got that call and could be a part of the game.
“Always being a player, it’s cool to see the other side,” Will said. “It’s brought my spirits up. It’s got me moving more than I was.”
Will’s teammates also benefit from their new coach.
“He always gives us that motivation to get better,” Kyle Moczygemba said. “I’m glad he’s out here doing this for us and for him.”
For Will and his family, they can’t wait until he’s running the bases again. But, they know it wouldn’t be possible without the UMC’s Children’s Hospital.
“Will is going to get through his stuff and is going to be playing baseball again, but there will, unfortunately, be more accidents,” David said. “[UMC] is available to everybody. But it’s only available with volunteers. It’s only available with donations and kind hearts that know we need it.”
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