Colin Burdette, Age 17, from Hubbard, OH
“The last thing I told Colin was don’t forget your helmet,” said Molly Burdette, Colin’s mom. Little did she know that helmet would save Colin’s life later that day.
Colin, an avid ATV rider, took to the trails near his house with a couple groups of friends. As Colin rounded a turn so did another rider coming the opposite direction. The 2 collided, breaking his helmet’s facemask and throwing Colin from his ATV.
Colin’s friends called 911.
Due to the severity of Colin’s injuries, paramedics took him to the nearest level 1 trauma unit at St. Elizabeth’s in Youngstown. His soft palate was covering his airway so breathing tubes were placed in Colin to get him stable.
“Once we learned how bad the trauma was and that he was going to need surgery, I told the doctors we wanted him to go to Akron Children’s,” Molly said. “It was the best decision we ever made.”
The life-flight crew arrived 18 minutes later.
Once at Akron Children’s, Colin underwent further evaluation to learn the extent of his injuries and next steps in his treatment.
Colin fractured nearly every bone in his face, suffered a severe concussion, broke both arms and lacerated his spleen. Worse yet, the swelling in Colin’s face had to subside before he could undergo surgery.
Several days after the accident, Dr. Niyant Patel and his team performed a near 10-hour reconstructive surgery to repair and rebuild Colin’s forehead, cheeks, eye sockets, jaw and nose.
“The incision goes across the top of his head from ear to ear and is virtually unnoticeable,” said Molly. “I had to show some of the nurses where it was…that’s how amazing Dr. Patel is. You can’t see it!”
During his stay, Colin constantly asked doctors and nurses what he had to do to get out of the hospital.
“Everyone treated him with respect and answered every question he had honestly,” Molly said. “They were direct with him rather than going through me…it was really empowering for him.”
Colin wanted out of the hospital and back to playing the sports he loved. After several minor surgeries, physical therapy and many follow-up visits, Colin returned to school in December. He had his second major 10-hour surgery in February 2015.
After nearly a year of healing and rehabilitation, Colin was allowed back on the soccer field, but he had to wear a face shield.
“Every time he played soccer, the other moms would look at me and gasp…but I had to let him do what he had to do to get past this (accident),” Molly said.
In appreciation of the care and support Colin received at Akron Children’s, the Burdette family raised $8,200 for the hospital as part of their relay team at the 2015 Akron Marathon. Colin ran the final leg of the relay, an outward sign of thanks and celebration.
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