Thompson High graduate loses toes in senior trip accident

Published 1:20 pm Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Thompson High School graduate Frankie Fuller was celebrating his graduation in Panama City Beach, Fla., June 4, when three of his toes were severed in a freak accident with a paraglider.

Fuller said was on the beach with some friends at approximately 2:30 p.m. when a man with a gas-powered paraglider began to start up his vehicle.

After several failed attempts to get the vehicle off the ground, a couple of the graduates, including Fuller, attempted to assist the man.

When the vehicle began to move, Fuller fell backward, the vehicle drove over him and his right foot was thrust into the paraglider’s propeller.

Three of Fuller’s toes were completely severed, but his big toe and second toe were partially severed.

“When it happened, I felt it hit my foot, and then I stood up and that’s when I noticed my toes had been cut off,” Fuller said. “The pain was intense when I looked at it and realized my toes had been cut off.”

One of Fuller’s friends quickly scooped him up and began the trek for help. Several other friends and some nearby construction workers helped Fuller before an off-duty nurse was able to apply a bandage before paramedics arrived.

“Everything was so quick,” Fuller said. “I stayed pretty calm about it.”

Fuller was transported to Bay Medical Center, where doctors were able to reattach his big toe and second toe.

Fuller spent one day in the hospital before he was released. He is now resting at home.

Fuller’s mother, Joni, said her son still has several doctor’s visits and months of rehab before he is back to normal, but she is just glad things were not worse.

“It’s going to be a long road ahead of him, but I still have my son,” Joni said. “Yes, he’s missing a few toes, but I know it definitely could have been a lot worse.”

Fuller said he, and his friends, have also taken a light-hearted approach to the tragic accident.

“Since it was my senior week, we kind of made a joke that I partied my toes off,” Fuller said with a laugh.