Archive for Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Basehor teen continues recovery

February 20, 2008

It has been a long year for Basehor-Linwood High School senior Katelynn Witt.

A three-car accident at 158th Street and U.S. Highway 24-40 in Basehor on Feb. 14, 2007, wedged Witt's left foot between the seat pillar and crumpled door of the Dodge Durango she was riding in, damaging her foot so badly that doctors talked about amputation.

Since then, she's endured a 16-day hospital stay, nine surgeries and months of physical therapy. A muscle from underneath her arm as well as a large skin graph from the top of her thigh was taken to repair damages to her foot, and the broken ball and socket had to be pinned together.

"When I came home, I was off it for two or three weeks," she said. "I couldn't even leave the house the first week I was home."

While the procedures and Katelynn's efforts to return to a normal life have saved her foot for now, amputation will continue to be a lifelong concern. The teenager said she had limited sensation in her left foot and must check it daily for cuts and blisters to prevent infection.

"The nerves are shot and about 80 percent of her foot has no feeling," said Katelynn's father, Curtis Witt. "Infection is going to be a big thing down the road."

While Katelynn's injuries have put a bit of a damper on her athletic career as well, the avid runner said off-season conditioning including indoor running and weight training has helped her gain some momentum. She was captain of the cross-country team, but decided to sit the season out to prevent injury. However track season begins next week, and Katelynn said she's prepared to give it a try.

"I'm planning on doing it, but it just depends on how well my foot takes to running all day, everyday," she said.

She may also still have a chance at a track scholarship, depending on how well the season goes. Katelynn said she's undecided on where she wants to attend college in the fall but has discussed scholarship opportunities with the track coach at Kansas University.

"We filled her in on everything," Katelynn said about the coach. "She Continued from page 1A

said to see how it goes this season and keep her up to date on times."

While it has been a trying year for the Witts, Katelynn said she knows life may never be exactly the way it was before the accident. Her parents said they are just grateful she's alive. The same accident claimed the life of 19-year-old Tonganoxie native Amanda Bixby.

The accident occurred when Ricardo Flores, Lansing, failed to yield at a stop sign while heading northbound on 158th Street and struck the Durango Witt was riding in, then hit the Ford Taurus Bixby was driving.

Flores was fined and placed on six months probation after pleading no contest to failure to yield at a stop sign, speeding and driving without a valid license. The Bixby family is currently trying to get the Legislature to pass "Amanda's Law" or House Bill 2617, which would require drug testing at accidents involving fatalities or serious injury.

Curtis Witt said he continues to keep in contact with the Bixbys and support their efforts 100 percent.

"She's doing well," Curtis said about Katelynn. "She walks with a little bit of a limp, but we're got our child. That's the biggest thing."

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