After nearly losing leg, Plainview senior makes full recovery

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 6:43 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2022 at 11:17 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Taylee Watson was a senior at Plainview High School in 2021, when a frightening incident with a show steer nearly ended her stock show career and much more.

Now, she is thankful for a full recovery after treatment at University Medical Center and love from a friend whose treats are funded by Children’s Miracle Network dollars.

Without flinching, Taylee Watson can tell anyone about the time she almost lost her leg and possibly her life.

“He, actually, kept dragging me after he ripped my leg open,” Watson said when describing the 2021 incident. “And it just kept tearing.”

She is fully recovered now but October of 2021 was a different story.

She was in the middle of her first round of senior photos on the family property and making a wardrobe change when one of her show steers got spooked.

“And so, he took off running. And I held on, and got the rope caught around my belt and I couldn’t get free after that,” Watson said.

For about 100 yards Watson was dragged and trampled.

Fortunately, a family friend was there and jumped on top of her, trying to keep the steer from trampling her any more. Meanwhile, dad Johnathan Bryant quickly jumped in with a knife to cut her loose.

“He had basically, stepped on her, ripped her open from her hip down to her knee,” he said. “Skin was folded back and you could see everything.”

And very quickly, mom, Amy Bryant called 9-1-1.

“I just saw him taking off and trampling my baby and she’s just screaming,” she said. “I literally saw my child’s life flash before my eyes.”

Even in such a traumatic experience, emergency responders found time to ask if there was a preference in where the family should seek treatment.

“My parents asked them, if this was your child where would you go? And they told us, hands-down UMC,” said Watson.

From Plainview, paramedics drove her to meet up with a helicopter crew to fly her to UMC. All the while, Watson said the shock of everything kept her from feeling any real pain.

“I didn’t know that my leg was hurt,” Watson said. “I couldn’t feel it, I never felt it.”

One possible reason for that: her youth.

“We always say kids are more resilient and that’s what we saw in Taylee’s case also,” Dr. Deepak Bharadia, a UMC reconstructive surgeon, said.

Dr. Bharadia who help treat Watson after emergency staff found they would be able to save her life and her leg.

“It was a devastating injury but fortunately for her, it was not deadly or anything more serious than what we had to deal with,” Bharadia said.

However, it was moments after the incident there was tons of fear from those around Watson.

“(Paramedics) said we could see your femoral artery... if you would’ve nicked it, you would’ve been gone in 60 seconds,” said Johnathan Bryant.

In the end it took five surgeries and a 17-day hospital stay before Watson was able to get back home.

Though, thankful for the UMC staff, there was a special someone helping her through the hospital stay.

“There was a service dog, her name’s Sable,” Watson said. “I do remember, anytime that I was awake, she was always there. She was always coming to see me.”

Even with that comfort, there is no place like home.

And it was home where she and the family continued the long recovery both physically and mentally.

“Months after it happened we would wake up with panic attacks reliving that experience and her reliving it,” Johnathan Bryant said. “It just kind of never goes away.”

The intensity of trauma was also shared with her mother.

“If I closed my eyes, I could see it again,” Amy Bryant, said. “So I would just feel like I couldn’t close my eyes.”

But, getting back to normal helped in that recovery. Weeks after the incident she was back in the barn fixing up her steers, though with a little anxiety at first.

“All my other calves, I was fine around,” Watson said. “But him, it really made me nervous.”

But soon, she was over the nerves and before graduation, back to stock shows. She even came home with scholarships and ribbons, just like before.

“Being in my element, I guess you could say,” Watson said. “It was worth it.”

And along with that is some rejoicing from the family.

“We’re blessed by the grace of God that she’s still here,” Johnathan Bryant said. “We talk about it daily, just how close that day was for us, too.”