Student playing volleyball again after losing half her foot in ATV accident

It’s a story of triumph following tragedy after a local student got in a serious ATV accident.

Her "can do" attitude, along with her medical team at Memorial Hermann/UT Health helped her heal quickly.

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Madalene Edmiston is learning how to use her new prosthetic foot, so she can play sports again. She was enjoying the Memorial Day holiday this year on an ATV with her best friend, Rebecca, when things went terribly wrong.

“I was driving and we were going on a straight dirt road and it swerved and I over-corrected and we started drifting and drifting. My friend slid off, but I stayed on, and it flipped. I felt something hit my foot,” explains Madalene.

That something was a 1500-pound ATV that rolled over her foot.

“It was shocking at first to see it, and my friend got up and tried to put the pieces together because the Polaris flipped three times, because she got to see it, when she fell out,” says Madalene.

Her shoe got knocked off during the accident, and she could see that half of her foot was gone. That's when her friend, Rebecca took charge. She helped stop the bleeding by tying a t-shirt around Madeline's foot. They raced for help.

“I was just screaming and panicking, and she stayed calm. I was about to pass out and she kept telling me to stay up, and we drove back 15 minutes back in the rain, and she was amazing, my friend,” says Madalene.

Even though Madalene was in terrible pain, there was something else on her mind: family and her future.

“I was freaking out, saying I want my mom and dad and after a while, I started freaking out about sports,” says Madalene.

While the girls were dealing with all of that, Madalene's parents got a disturbing alert from their Life 360 app that she had been in an accident.

“So what happened, Madalene put her phone in the glove box of the Polaris and when it flipped, your phone has a gyroscope and they recognized that as an accident alert,” explains her mom, Rebecca.

Meanwhile, Air Evac transported Madalene from Columbus to Memorial Hermann in the Texas Medical Center. She was in need of a talented trauma team.

“Before surgery, our main goal was to clean everything. An injury like that is really high risk for infection. I already knew we had a bad injury and what would make it worse was if an infection was to set in,” states Dr. Lindsay Crawford, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon with Memorial Hermann & UT Health.  

Madalene's mom braced for the worst, while hoping for the best.

“When she first arrived at the hospital,she wouldn't let me see her foot. And she said, ‘no Mom, you can't look at it.’ So I sat down outside the room and I just started texting my community and asking for prayers, and they responded, just incredibly. All of the local churches had us on their prayer list. There were people that we know, so many people that we didn't even know, they were praying for us,” Rebecca says, as she chokes back tears.

“The front part of her foot and all of her toes, were gone,” says Dr. Crawford.

At first, Madalene had to grieve the loss of her foot, but acceptance quickly set in after she found out about options that allow her to continue sports.

“We needed something that was going to be good for volleyball, needed her to be able to cut, jump, and pivot. And then she wanted something for daily wear, low profile, nothing up your shin for day-to-day, even cosmetic options with painted toenails, and we talked to her about that. Once she found out about what was available that was functional and cosmetic, everyone felt better about where we were going,” says Dr. Crawford. It gave Madalene hope!

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After 12 days in the hospital, she was ready to get home and anxious to see her friend Rebecca, who survived the crash without serious harm. Her friend pretended to be too busy to see her.

“When I got home, got to my room, I noticed everything was different in my room. The walls were painted, a new bedspread, it was redecorated, they painted the door, and I just started crying. I knew my friend did this. I was crying and I was so happy. And then my friend comes out of the corner of my room and surprised me. I was so happy,” says a now smiling Madalene. What a homecoming!

Madalene had some serious healing to do before she could try on her prosthetic, but she was more than ready.

“The second I put it on, I was excited to be moving around more,” she states.

“She even got to go to Washington State to get fitted for her specialty brace that she's using for volleyball and literally the day that she got her brace, they sent me pictures of her box - vertical jumping, and I was like, I can't even do that,” laughs Dr. Crawford, in awe of her patient.

Madalene is back on her volleyball team at school and doing well! Her strength has impressed her entire sports team, as well as medical team at Memorial Hermann/ UT Health.

“I could tell from the beginning that she was very motivated. It's amazing. Her recovery has been just as fast as possible,” says Dr. Crawford. “She has always been very determined and very strong in making sure nothing holds her back,” says her mom.

Everyone agrees. Nothing is going to stop Madalene. Now she's working hard to beat her competitive swim times.

Click here for more inspirational stories out of Memorial Hermann.