ORLANDO, Fla. (KDKA) — It was nearly two years ago when a farming accident almost killed a boy from Clarion County.
Friday, at EPCOT in Orlando, Seth Apel received the Patients of Courage Award from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
On Nov. 7, 2015, Seth’s life changed forever.
“We were cutting firewood, and Seth was taking a load of firewood down with the tractor,” Seth’s father, Josh Apel, said.
Seth’s sleeve got caught in a machine. His right arm was completely torn off and thrown 15 feet into the air.
“I got the phone call from the resident that the trauma team wanted our help, that an arm had been amputated, so I immediately got ready and went straight in to work,” Dr. Lorelei Grunwaldt, Seth’s surgeon, said.
Doctors were able to reattach his arm at Children’s Hospital here in Pittsburgh.
“The nerves did not look great, but given his age and the fact that everything else was perfect, I decided to move forward,” Grunwaldt said.
After several surgeries and rigorous physical therapy, Seth is once again doing what he loves. He can now move his shoulder and elbow, although not his hand yet.
He’s playing baseball again, going hunting and is fine-tuning his skills as a motivational speaker.
“God kept me going, and he gave me this desire to just keep fighting, and I’m going to do that. And so that’s why I’ve worked so hard on therapy and baseball and hunting and fishing and all that stuff,” Seth said. “I’d basically say that if you keep your eyes on the future and keep your faith in God, then you can do anything.”
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons calls Seth an inspiration.
A spokesperson told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Seth has “exemplified both bravery and the importance of keeping a sense of humor throughout his entire recovery process.”
Grunwaldt also received an award Friday.
As for Seth, he will undergo another procedure to help restore function in his right hand. It will take place on Nov. 7, two years to the day after his accident.