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Tot injured in Palm Harbor mower accident gets prosthetic feet


Published:   |   Updated: June 18, 2013 at 04:24 PM

A new pair of prosthetic feet were a fit for Ireland Nugent, the Palm Harbor toddler injured in a lawn mower accident in April. On Monday, the 2-year-old took her first steps since the accident.

"She just got up and went," said Stephanie Kingston, the administrator for the Prosthetic and Orthotic Associates, in Orlando, where the procedure took place. "She did so well that we actually let her take them home."

Ireland was fitted for her new feet last week, and by early afternoon Monday the curly haired tot beamed as she took them for a spin via a pint-sized pair of parallel bars.

It was an emotional moment for the family, which crowded the room where she took those first shaky strides.

"This is triumph after a tragedy," said her father, Jerry Nugent, in a phone interview. "This is what we've been waiting for."

Nugent, who in a freak accident backed over Ireland's legs with a riding lawn mower April 11, was clearly emotional in the wake of his daughter's first steps since the accident.

"The whole family is just so excited and happy we're finally here," he said. "(Ireland) is going to do great things, is what we've always said."

Ireland had been in physical therapy in preparation for her prosthetics. She was released May 4 from Tampa General Hospital following a series of surgeries, and has been in physical therapy in preparation for her prosthetics.

Despite weeks of physical therapy, though, the tot's walking will likely be limited today - a skin graft on her right leg still has some healing to do.

"In the long term, she should do phenomenal," said Stephanie Kingston, the administrator for the Orlando facility.

Ireland did so well with her new feet that they sent her and her family home early, Kingston said. They were scheduled to return to the Orlando facility Tuesday to have the new limbs laminated.

As she grows, her prosthetics will have to be modified and in some cases replaced.

Since the accident, a series of community fundraisers have helped raise tens of thousands of dollars to pay for Ireland's medical care and prosthetics, which she will likely have to get refitted for several times a year as she grows. The charity 50 Legs, which helps children get prosthetics, also assisted.

"Ireland is excited for life, and we all live for her," her mother, Nicole Nugent, wrote on Facebook.

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