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Boy living life to the fullest after being run over by lawnmower seven years ago

Local

IDAHO FALLS — Seven years ago this month, Kayden Emery was involved in a backyard accident that could have killed him.

But since that day in July 2015, the 9-year-old hasn’t let anything slow him down after being run over by a riding lawnmower.

“I was chasing after the lawnmower when I was 2 1/2 years old and then she backed up and ran over me,” Kayden tells EastIdahoNews.com.

Kayden’s grandmother was on the lawnmower at her Madison County home and had no idea her grandson was behind her. Paramedics rushed to the house and Kayden was airlifted by medical helicopter to EIRMC.

kayden plays old
Kayden Emery recovering at EIRMC following surgery in 2015. | Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com

“I was in the car before I got to the helicopter and I had my Ninja Turtle blanket,” Kayden recalls. “I was passed out for a little while and then I was looking around. I forgot what universe I was in.”

Kayden’s left foot and part of his leg had to be amputated but two months later, with the help of a prosthetic from Shriner’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, he was walking on both feet again.

As he’s grown up over the years, the prosthetic legs have grown with him.

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Kayden Emery gets fitted for a new prosthetic leg every 6-9 months. Doctors let him choose the design. | Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com

“I have over 27 different legs,” says Kariann Emery, Kayden’s mom. “His shoes wear out fast because we can’t stop him. He’s always on the go and you name it, he’s done it.”

One year after the accident, as a 3-year-old, Kayden was standing in line at the Teton Dam Race where he ran a mile.

“This hasn’t stopped him. It’s just made him even more unique and special,” says Derek Emery, Kayden’s dad. “I think he’s just learned to live with it from such a young age that it’s not a thing for him.”

There’s been some physical therapy over the years but Kayden doesn’t need it anymore. He loves to swim, rock climb, ski, rollerskate and play outside. And when he’s on the soccer field? He says his prosthetic leg has been an advantage.

“It’s distracting for my enemies in the middle of the game. During the breaks they stop and ask me what happened to my leg and (my team) is just scoring out there,” he says with a smile.

kayden and parents
Kayden Emery with his parents, Derek and Kariann Emery. | Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com

Every six to nine months, Kayden’s parents take him to Shriner’s Hospital to be measured for a new leg and he personally gets to choose the design. It takes Kayden less than 10 seconds to put on his leg every morning and he’s off.

Kayden’s parents use the accident to remind others about the importance of safety while mowing the lawn. It’s estimated that approximately 9,400 children are injured by lawnmowers per year in the United States, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Kayden says while lots of people ask about his leg, he’s never been bullied. He hopes his journey inspires others going through hard times.

“Nothing can hold him back. His desire to just live as a normal kid and do everything that everyone else does is his main priority in his life. He’s been amazing. He’s my hero,” Derek says.

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