SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Amidst the high school and college football players at the Sanford Fieldhouse on Monday stood a 14-year-old boy, tossing a football with his dad. While the activity may seem mundane, it’s something that wouldn’t have been possible a year ago for 14-year-old Landyn Keiser.
On Memorial Day of last year, Landyn and his siblings were outside enjoying the nice weather while his mom mowed the lawn. Landyn took the UTV and his dog out to the pasture like he always did to ride around. When Daisy Keiser went back to the house, the dog and his siblings had returned but Landyn wasn’t there. That’s when she headed down to the pasture where she saw the UTV tipped on its side with the lower half of Landyn’s body pinned under the vehicle.
“So, I came up to him, and I was yelling at him before I even before he even I even saw him, he heard me, and he responded back to me. So, I knew that I knew that he was okay,” Daisy recalled. “And I just kept saying, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’ And my thoughts were ‘I’m sorry, I waited so long to come and find you.'”
Immediately, Daisy began calling emergency services and members of her family. The Keiser’s live in Fordyce, Nebraska and originally, they planned to take Landyn to Sioux City but after seeing the extent of his injuries, a decision was made to bring him to Sanford Health in Sioux Falls.
“We met the helicopter in Sanford and met Dr. Jared Daniel that night and he, amongst other physicians, met us in the ER. They took him to surgery where they did fasciotomies on five sites in his legs,” Daisy said.
Landyn then spent the next 11 days in the ICU where doctors cleaned up the non-viable tissue, monitored his kidneys that were at risk of failing, and a number of surgeries for skin grafting and soft tissue management.
Since last May, Landyn has had over 50 procedures to save his legs.
“His right leg is never going to be normal. But we’re just trying to preserve as much function and get him as much ability of that leg as possible,” Daisy said.
Prior to his accident, Landyn was an active kid as the quarterback for the football team, pitcher and catcher on his baseball team and point guard in basketball. While Landyn is back to walking without assistance and practicing with his baseball team, he still is travelling to Sioux Falls twice a week to see his physical therapist, Josie Stockland.
“He just came in and was really, really limited and has been able to build on it and he’s had a couple of surgeries that have given us that next leap,” Stockland said.
Stockland said that Landyn approaches his physical therapy with determination and no complaints, even with a few setbacks including a recent broken thumb. Still, he’s ready to get back to playing the sports he loves.
“He came one day and was like, ‘Yeah, I think I’m gonna be done using my walker at school,'” Stockland recalled. “He just decides he’s gonna do something and he literally can just show me it.”
During some visits, Stockland takes Landyn to the Pentagon where they play basketball as a part of his recovery process.
“And he’s like legitimately beating me and my coworkers at PIG. He’s just draining three-pointers,” Stockland said.
While Landyn is back to walking on his own, and hoping to be running eventually, his body will never quite be what it was before the accident. For Landyn’s dad, Judd Keiser, it’s hard to see opportunities taken away from his son due to his injuries.
“Your heart just pours out for the kid,” Judd said through tears. “He’s a good kid and things got taken away from him that he doesn’t deserve to be taken away from.”
As Landyn continues his recovery journey at Sanford Health, his parents are celebrating all of his accomplishments whether it’s being able to shower on his own, tie his shoes or dribble a basketball.
“Everything is a victory,” Daisy said. “Just this week, I was recording his little sister going down the steps on her stomach and that was a milestone for her. And then I moved the camera up and he was walking down the steps with an arm full of stuff.”
Those little moments that wouldn’t have been possible even just a few months ago fill his parents with pride at his determination to get better.
“To overcome all the mental aspects is a is a big deal,” Judd said. “You know, the mental’s half the battle also overcoming that and the physical. So, if he can overcome both of them. That’s a champion at heart.”