A 20-year-old from New Athens is recovering from an above-the-knee leg amputation following a crash Sunday in a dirt-bike motorcycle competition.
Tyler Brandenburger broke bones in his right leg in a dirt bike crash at a competition in Nashville, according to his family.
“I’m not exactly sure how he crashed, but he crashed,” said Tyler’s mother, Kelly Brandenburger.
Tyler was taken to a hospital in Nashville, where his parents were instructed to ice, wrap and elevate the leg and then see an orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday.
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But by Sunday evening, the pain became nearly unbearable, and the leg was extremely swollen — black and blue.
“Tyler just said, ‘Mom, this isn’t right. Something isn’t right,” Kelly Brandenburger said. “We ended up going over to Barnes.”
It has not been my favorite sport that he’s done through the years. But he loved it. When it’s something that’s in their blood like that, you’re not going to stop them.
Kelly Brandenburger, mother of Tyler Brandenburger
At Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, doctors said the leg had developed compartment syndrome. Compartment syndrome happens when excessive pressure builds inside part of the body. It results from bleeding or swelling after an injury, affecting the flow of blood to tissue.
Kelly Brandenburger said competitive dirt-bike racing has been a passion for her son.
“It has not been my favorite sport that he’s done through the years,” she said. “But he loved it. When it’s something that’s in their blood like that, you’re not going to stop them.”
She said her son already has talked about getting back on a dirt bike, telling friends that he still has a left leg, so he can still operate the gear shifter on a motorcycle.
Kelly Brandenburger said Tyler will be in the hospital for 4-5 days, then sent to inpatient rehabilitation. He eventually will be fitted with a prosthetic.
She said her son is “bummed” but “seems to be doing pretty good” with his recovery.
“Twenty years old. It sucks,” she said. “But we’re not going to say ‘poor Tyler.’ We’re going to say, ‘Let’s go kick ass.’”
She said the amputation was just above the knee.
“It’s kind of shocking when you first look at it, but it is what it is,” she said.
Kelly Brandenburger said the episode serves as a reminder that an injury such as a broken bone, which might not seem life-threatening, “can turn into something a lot worse.” She said she had never heard of compartment syndrome, and she doubts that many other parents have heard of it, either.
Tyler attends classes at Southwestern Illinois College and works at an automotive parts store in Freeburg. A GoFundMe account has been established to help with his medical expenses.