Lawnmower Foot

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It's a common sight in neighborhoods everywhere this time of year: cutting the grass.  But there's no doubt that lawn-mowers aren't toys.

Just ask 15-year-old Stephanie Krugel, of HanoverTownship, who fell off a riding mower when she was just 8.

“I jumped off and my left foot got stuck underneath it.”

“It's kinda like what you see in the movies.  Everything went white.  I was shaking, it was unreal.”

Stephanie lost two toes and the majority of the side and bottom of her foot, spent 24-days in the hospital, and has since undergone numerous surgeries, skin grafts, and rounds of physical therapy.

A tough journey for an active teenage girl, but her doctor says she has come a long way.

“Very often these injuries not only affect people physically, but mentally.”

Dr. Jerry Cush is chief of foot and ankle surgery at GeisingerMedicalCenter's Woodbine Lane facility near Danville.

He says lawnmower foot is more common than you might think.. And in some cases is serious enough to warrant amputation.

He should know just how serious the injuries can be, he went through the same thing when he was 4.

“One of the things I said I always wanted to do was work with feet, after my injury.  Now I get to take care of people who unfortunately have the same injury I do.”

Dr. Cush says he went on to play sports, and do all the usual teenage things, which has inspired Stephanie to do the same.

She now wears a custom-made prosthetic, and has even been thinking about someday becoming an orthopedic doctor.

“To see him come as far as he has, that he has the same injury I do, it's just the coolest thing.”

And Stephanie's dad is taking the opportunity to pass along an important word of advice about lawn mowers.

They're not toys.  It's a piece of equipment that should be operated only by someone who knows how to operate it.”