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After farm accident, former Minnesota snocross racer walks again with carbon fiber legs

By John Lauritsen

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    LE SUEUR, Minnesota (WCCO) — WCCO introduced you in November to a young farmer and former Snocross racer trying to recover from a life-changing accident.

In September, Travis Muller suffered serious injuries when his legs got caught in a grain auger. Amputation was his only option. But since then, much has changed.

“The goal is to do everything I did before. Hopefully, almost as good,” Muller said.

For the past six months, Muller has been adjusting to life in a wheelchair all while taking baby steps towards recovery.

“I’ve had it in my head how things should go. Christmas time I thought I’ll be able to walk and it’s just, everything takes a little longer,” he said.

It takes a lot of patience, too. His legs had to heal before he could finally take his second first steps.

“It was waiting for that moment for so long because it’s a big stepping-stone,” he said. “It’s come a long way. Each time it gets better, easier to walk. The first time was really exhausting.”

Those first few steps felt like a mile. But the Limb Lab in Mankato made quick adjustments to get Muller comfortable on his “new feet.”

Most of the people they see are accident victims, combat veterans and farmers like Muller. But no two amputees are alike.

Kyle Wakefield is Muller’s prosthetist. His lab is like a wood shop, but the projects he works on are life-altering.

“A lot of it is getting his muscles to adapt to his new legs, his center of gravity and overall getting his stability back,” Wakefield said. “Every week he comes in, it’s night and day, further progress.”

Since one leg was amputated below the knee and the other above it, Wakefield uses carbon fiber legs for strength and balance. So far, Muller has been a model patient.

“It’s incredible. It’s part of what makes this job so rewarding,” Wakefield said. “He can pretty much plan to do whatever he was doing before.”

For his part, Muller started a YouTube page to document his progress. It’s full of workouts, and it also shows the first time he got back into a tractor to clear snow.

“I thought I’d ride a snowmobile this winter but we haven’t had any snow to anyways,” Muller said.

But at the rate he’s going, Muller won’t be held back from anything for long. His injury caused him to miss the fall harvest, but he doesn’t plan to miss the spring plant.

“Good for me physically and good for my spirits and everything. It seems like it put me in an even better attitude,” he said. “I’m really excited to walk without hanging onto those rails.”

Muller doesn’t plan to Snocross race again, but he hopes to snowmobile next winter.

There is an active GoFundMe page was set up to help with his medical expenses.

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