Accident doesn’t slow student’s efforts

Pam Landolt

Being a non-traditional student is not the only obstacle Shane Kyger has to overcome, he also lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident in 1999.

Kyger, sophomore accounting major, started back to school when he was 24, three years after his accident.

“My first semester was a little weird because I had to get used to getting around in a big area,” he said. “It was challenging at first, but I like a challenge.”

Kyger is enrolled in a bowling/tennis course this semester and has impressed the instructor, Julie Wengert, Missouri Southern’s NCAA compliance coordinator.

“I am often amazed at how positive and determined he is to be good at these sports,” Wengert said. “Especially, since I’m sure he once played them with ease before his accident.”

Even though Wengert has a degree in education and has been trained to be able to modify lesson plans for those with special needs, she was still worried about her ability to teach bowling and tennis to someone in a wheelchair.

The first night of bowling was a challenge for Kyger because the only ramp to the lanes was at the south end of the building and class was being held at the north end.

“When Shane got there, he wheeled down to the north end, stood up on his good leg, folded his wheelchair up and hopped down the stairs,” Wengert said. “I was amazed. After seeing how easy he made that task look, I knew he would be just fine in my bowling/tennis class.”

Kyger said after his accident, he started feeling sorry for himself, and began to fall into a deep depression. His father helped him regain his good attitude and get his life back in order.

“My dad said, ‘It’s like this, you can either lay here like a dog – whimper, whine and complain, or you can take what you got and make what you can out of it,'” Kyger said.

In Kyger’s near death accident on the morning of Aug. 31, 1999, he not only lost his leg, but he also broke his other leg and tore his aorta away from his heart.

Kyger said his accident changed his life forever.

“I was living life in the fast lane, and I had been for about four years,” he said.

“I got a second chance at life.”

People treat Kyger differently and try to help him do everyday tasks he has already mastered since the accident.

“I can still do everything that a two-legged person can do and some things I can do better,” Kyger said. “I’m not handicapped, I’m just in a wheelchair.”