Teenager loses leg, but takes huge steps after accident

Trent Waggoner
Trent Waggoner

By Elizabeth Donatelli - bio | email

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - On Sept. 7, 2010, an 18-year-old was changing the tire for a woman he didn't know when a car slammed into his vehicle. Trent Waggoner survived the accident, but lost his left leg. Still, after a lot of hard work, he is able to walk again with crutches and someday soon hopefully without them.

Waggoner graduated from Jeffersonville High School in 2010. He is a diehard Cards fan and enrolled at the University of Louisville for fall 2010.

"Here's my student season tickets that I didn't get to use this year," said Waggoner showing off an envelope full of tickets. "You will notice that the Kentucky game is ripped off, that was before my accident."

In early September Waggoner was on his way home from school. He was making a run for his father's AAA business to help a woman change a flat tire just off I-65.

"I was turned around talking to him, just kind of standing between the trucks, and literally as soon as I hung up the phone with him I see this car just graze off the guardrail and slam into the back of my truck," said Waggoner.

He said everything "spiraled out of control" after that.

"I've got blood everywhere from the waist down, and I'm, you know, in this horrible position," said Waggoner. "I kept control on the outside and I helped kinda around the scene, but on the inside I was freaking out. I mean obviously just not knowing what was going to happen next. I mean, if I was going to die. I mean I didn't know."

He did survive, but doctors had to cut off his left leg below the knee. He went through 11 major surgeries and spent 42 days in the hospital. But instead of letting it get him down, Waggoner is determined to walk again.

"I had a lot of support and a lot of hope in myself," said Waggoner as he held the bars at physical therapy and walked forward. "I mean I never really doubted myself from the beginning."

He works out with Jessica Turbeville at Southern Indiana Rehab three times a week. She says he's making great progress.

After rehab he is able to drive himself to see his prosthetist to get fitted for his next step.

"With the degree of trauma that he experienced, he's way ahead of the game," said prosthetist Dr. Mike Mattingly.

Looking back he credits a high school instructor for helping him to remain calm on the scene.

"I had to take control of what was going on with the situation and I think honestly I think I'll shout out to my Sgt. Tidwell from ROTC," said Waggoner. "She taught me the leadership skills that I had and I really, that day, I honestly used them."

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