A Stephenville teenager is warning other children to stay away from lawnmowers after she was impaled in the neck in a bizarre accident.
Alexus Duckett, 13, was outside a few weeks ago while her father was on a riding mower cutting the grass when she felt something hit her neck.
"My first reaction was, I thought a rock hit me, so I just kind of grabbed it and I felt it," she said. "And I was like, 'Uh, that's not a rock.'"
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It was a piece of wire from a garden fence. The lawnmower kicked it up and sent it flying like a missile almost 3 inches into Alexus' neck.
Doctors at Cook Childrens Medical Center in Fort Worth say they have seen an alarming number of serious lawnmower accidents in the past few weeks.
Of five children treated in the emergency room for lawnmower injuries, three had to have their legs amputated.
Several of the injuries involved children sitting on an adult's lap on riding mowers.
"The ones we've had, the children have fallen off and have been actually run over, and it's usually by someone close to them -- including a parent, or grandparent or some other loved one, which makes it more devastating," Dr. Chad Hazmner said. "The other major injuries you typically see are projectiles from any type of lawnmower."
Alexus' father, Brandon Duckett, said he never saw the piece of wire because it was obscured by grass.
"The next thing I knew, she was screaming my name in a very urgent tone," he said. "I put my arm around her and basically held her arms to her side because I didn't want her reaching up and touching it. And I said, 'OK, we're going to the ER.'"
Alexus' mother, Jayme, was inside the house.
"It was pretty scary, because you don't' know if it's lodged into a major artery, so you try not to panic," she said.
Doctors at the Stephenville hospital quickly called for a CareFlite helicopter to fly her to Cook Childrens Medical Center in Fort Worth, where she underwent surgery to remove the wire.
"It could have been so much worse," Alexus said.
It almost was.
"[It was] a millimeter from being worse, from what we understand," said her mother. "It was only a millimeter from some of her major vessels."
The Duckett family now has a new rule.
"No one's allowed to be outside once the mower starts," Jayme Duckett said.
"You don't realize how valuable your life is until you're that close to dying," Alexus said. "And then you are just thankful for all the blessings you do have."