NEW ORLEANS -- Riding ATVs can be fun, but they can also be very dangerous.
It's something that one Lake Charles teen knows all too well. An ATV accident almost cost him one of his legs.
Hayden Hoffpauir was a typical student at St. Louis Catholic School. He was riding the same ATV he always rides after school one day when took a turn too quickly, causing the ATV to tip over and land on his leg.
"Adrenaline kicked in and didn't hurt very much until about three hours later when I was in the trauma center," he recalled.
His dad was out of town when the accident happened.
"I said, 'Just get him fixed up and we'll be home ... and then he said, 'No you need to come home. This is bad," Drew Hoffpauir said.
Bad is one way to describe the injury.
"It was filleted," Drew Hoffpauir explained. "The mirror on the ATV when it hit the ground was cast aluminum, and when it broke, it broke with a jagged edge and he was evidently rolled underneath the mirror, and so as his leg rolled the mirror kind of filleted at least 320 degrees around at the calf, so with the break was a severe laceration."
Hayden's mom, Kathryn, said she couldn't bring herself to look at it.
"So I didn't know how bad it really was, and then when they came and told us about this experimental procedure and everything I said, you know, whatever it takes," she said.
News with a Twist teaching doctor, Dr. Rachel, said there is a broad set of procedures doctors use to try to avoid amputation.
"Anytime you have a critical structures exposed in the leg bone or tendon there's a risk of amputation," she said ."So we'll take skin and fat or muscle from another part for the body and transfer that over to do the reconstruction."
But those procedures are sometimes unsuccessful, and Dr. Frank Lau, an assistant professor of plastic surgery at LSU Medical School, says a new procedure was the answer.
"We have now developed what we think of as a tissue engineering technique to try to avoid these long, complicated surgeries," Lau said. "We take a off-the-shelf medical device it's created from placentas, and were able to use that to engineer some of the soft tissues over bone and tendon."
Now, Hayden's leg is fully functional.
"I play tennis, and everything is back to normal," he said.
If you ask Hayden what he learned from this whole experience, it's to "go slower around that turn."