Stepping Forward — Levi Leffert lost his leg in a lawn mower accident when he was 5. It did anything but slow him down.
Nearly an hour and a half after arriving at Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis to pick up his new prosthetic leg, Levi Leffert waited while the leg was being adjusted. It took nearly two hours and several adjustments for the prosthetic to get to the point where Levi felt comfortable enough to take it home.
Ferdinand Elementary students listened intently as Levi told the story of when he was 5 years old and was involved in a lawn mower accident that cut off the backside of his left leg. After dealing with several years of pain after the accident, Levi opted to have a portion of the leg amputated in April 2010. Levi speaks to students at local elementary schools to teach them about lawn mower safety in hopes they won’t have to experience what he did.
Ferdinand Elementary fourth-graders Hunter Helming, left, and Megan Gogel, right, were no match for the speed of Levi despite him having a prosthetic leg as he raced the two in the school’s gym. The race was part of the presentation Levi gave to the school’s third- and fourth-graders about lawn mower safety in which he recounted how he was caught beneath the deck of a lawn mower when he was 5 years old and his injury eventually led him to have a portion of his left leg and foot amputated.
Prosthetists at Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis have told Levi that they can’t make a brace that he can’t break, as he once managed to break one that was said to be unbreakable. Levi keeps many of his old braces and shows them to students during his classroom presentations.
By the time Levi reached seventh grade, his leg could no longer stand the stress of playing sports. Since then, Levi has taken up outdoor activities like fishing, hunting and four-wheeler riding. Levi scanned the trees on his neighbor’s property as he hunted for squirrels.
After having a rough day during which he spent most of the 10-hour workday at Holiday World limping, Levi reclined in a chair while chatting with his dad, Mark, in their St. Meinrad home. It’s common for Levi after long days of work to have to remove his prosthetic limb and massage his leg.
Having been through multiple legs since his amputation, Levi uses one of his older ones as his swimming leg. Levi leapt off of the diving board to catch a football as he spent time swimming with friends after work at the St. Henry Community Club.
“I mow all of the time. It doesn’t bother me a bit,” Levi said. Levi, who eventually lost his left leg after a mowing accident in 1999, often helps his dad mow his family’s property as well as some neighbors’ property.