TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A Kansas teen’s postgrad future became frighteningly unclear after he severely injured himself in a sledding accident.
On February 15, 2019, 18-year-old Jim Gant broke multiple bones, sending him to a local hospital’s trauma center.
“I was sledding behind a truck, tied to a rope,” Gant said. “It probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do. We were going down a road, and I must have slid off and hit a pole. I broke my ankle, femur, and the L4 vertebra of my spine. I got airlifted to Topeka’s Stormont Vail.”
Jim spent more than 6 hours in surgery.
“The surgery involved a break in the lower lumbar bone. It had been crushed and pushed backward,” Gant said.
Stormont Vail Neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Boudreaux carried out the intensive procedure performed on Gant.
“What I did was not only un-pinch the nerve sack, but take out the entire vertebral body and replace it with hardware,” Boudreaux said.
Thankfully, Jim has youth on his side and is making an amazing recovery today. He hopes to run again one day soon.
“I have started biking and doing lots of other physical activities, to try to get me back so I’ll be ready to start running again when I go to college,” Gant said.
“I think that he has made a remarkable recovery, even one that surprises me,” Boudreaux said. “I am anxious to see how he does in college.”
Alongside the care he received at the Stormont Vail Trauma Center, Gant thanks his friends, family and the community of Council Grove for supporting him.
“At the end of my senior year, having to go through that. Dealing with graduation, using a walker to cross the stage, and going back to high school in a wheelchair,” Gant recalled. “After the accident, I learned how grateful I am to the community for helping me and my family out. I would get stacks and stacks of ‘get well soon’ cards, and my friends would come in all the time.”
Gant’s friends and family tell him going forward: “Be careful Jim!”
Gant is attending Kansas State University this fall and plans to major in electrical engineering.