Minutes Away From Losing His Leg

Student care flighted to Dallas after accident


Amy Nguyen

Back at school, freshman Colton Ward said his doctors told his family he was minutes away from losing his leg after he was hit during football practice before school started.

Minutes away from losing his leg.

Four hours without blood circulation.

Three pops. That’s all he heard, and he knew something was wrong with his knee.

It happened in a split second. One moment his mind was on his next move, the next two bodies pinned him to the ground and he heard three pops.

He opened his eyes and the sight was burned into his mind. The hit from behind during football offensive practice caused freshman Colton Ward to be care flighted to Dallas and put under for 35 hours of anesthesia during eight different surgeries.

“The fire department came and put my leg in a splint so it couldn’t move,” he said. “They rushed me to United Regional where my family and Coach Bindel were waiting. When I got there, my family was looking for someone to take on my case and we were having no luck.”

His artery was severed and he was in immediate danger.

We had to find a fast healing surgeon to put my knee and artery back together. We got lucky and found someone from Parkland Hospital, in Dallas. They took me on.”

— Freshman Colton Ward

“Knowing that we could only wait was difficult,” head football coach and athletic coordinator Marc Bindel said. “Not only for him, but also for me and the team.”

The severe injury required a specialist and even then they weren’t sure his leg could be saved.

“We had to find a fast healing surgeon to put my knee and artery back together,” he said. “We got lucky and found someone from Parkland Hospital, in Dallas. They took me on.”

It took four hours from the moment of impact to get Ward to Dallas.

Ward had many supporters rooting for him from the sidelines.

“The students, parents, administrators and teachers were wanting to do whatever they could to help Colton and his family out,” Bindel said.

The return to school was a struggle for Ward. Wheelchair bound and six weeks behind, Ward checked his phone for the time and left from class early to make it to his next class.

“My first day back, I had to leave early for physical therapy,” he said. “When I first got home, we were mostly concerned about getting me back into school, so I wouldn’t be too far behind. After that, I started homebound schooling.”

When his health allowed, Ward did school work at home, but now he’s back at school and he does all his work with everyone else.

“I’m almost done and it’s just a huge relief to hear that I’m getting better by a lot rather than a little bit,” he said.

With another surgery within the year, Ward refuses to limit his progress.

“I know that everything will be easier once I’m healed and I’m ready to get back to normal,” he said.

He’s getting better. Healing takes time, but he doesn’t plan to surrender, he said.

“Soon, I’ll be taking strides instead of tip toes.”