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Teen continues his remarkable recovery after nearly losing his leg in a boating accident

ST. LOUIS – Fox 2/News 11 had an exclusive update Tuesday night on a remarkable boy from St. Charles who nearly lost his leg in a boating accident.

A pontoon boat propeller badly sliced the leg and wrist of Ashton Yates, 12, during a family outing at Pinnacle Lake in Montgomery County, Memorial Day Weekend 2017.

Ashton’s amazing recovery over the past year has left even his doctors "blown away”.

The same Ashton who now kicks soccer balls, jumps hurdles, and runs on a treadmill is the same Ashton who could have died in the accident.

The propeller sliced Ashton’s muscles, nerves, and tendons.

The outpouring of gifts and prayers during his 17 day stay at St. Louis Children’s Hospital seemed to light a fire in Ashton.

The flames have kept raging since his first trip to physical therapy.

He was still in a wheelchair then but has now progressed from the chair to a walker to a leg brace and now, just his sneakers.

The wicked scars on his lower right leg have become his “badge”.

“It’s kind of cool,” he laughed, looking down at his leg.

“He’s a magnetic kid,” said Dr. Christopher Dy, an orthopedic nerve surgeon with Washington University who helped create a new pathway in Ashton’s legs for his nerves to regrow. “I can see why people are drawn to him.  We’re all cheering for him.  I can’t wait to see back on a baseball diamond.  I can’t wait to see him having fun, being a kid, and forgetting this ever happened… this was a pretty devastating injury.  He has had a remarkable recovery.”

Dr. Dy later tweeted:  “That’s my guy! Resilient kiddo recovering from a bad peroneal #nerve segmental injury. #nervesurgery combining autograft and #allograft to restore dorsiflexion, eversion, and sensation. Amazing to watch him run and do hurdles today…”

Ashton’s physical therapist, Timothy Kirn, can’t get over the boy’s progress since he first rolled into the St. Louis Children’s Specialty Care Center in Town and Country in his wheelchair for rehab.

“My biggest expectation was just to get him back on his feet,” Kirk said.  “Whether he played sports or ran or anything like that, that was crystal ball future type stuff…the kid can do anything he wants to, now…he’s stubborn but that’s what drives him.  I love the kid.”

Ashton gave us the next two items on his “to-do” list.

“Get back on the baseball field, be able to run for a long time like I was able to (before),” he said. “Everybody cheering me on, it’s making me better.”

“We’ve come so far.  Ashton has come so far.  It blows my mind…scooting down the stairs on his bottom because of his legs, going through the motions of all that, carrying him to the car,” said Ashton’s mom, Blair Bishop.   “He’s still here.  My son’s here.  That’s the greatest gift.”

According to the medical team, as his nerves and muscles continue to grow, Ashton will play ball again and more.

It’s now a matter of weeks and months not years.