Tate’s Great Strides: boy walks on his own 16 months after lawnmower accident

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) — A Cedar Falls boy who suffered gruesome injuries during an accident involving a lawnmower in his family’s front yard is making great strides.

Tate Manahl was just three when he was accidentally run over by a lawnmower. His injuries were severe and life-threatening from the stomach down. He was airlifted to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where doctors would fight to save his life and his legs.

While Tate’s road to recovery was a steep one, he has improved greatly in the 16  months since that tragic accident. One year after the accident, Tate was able to begin pre-school.

It’s all built up to Thursday, December 20, with the biggest steps of them all coming in Iowa City.

Remember Tate? At three years old he was involved in lawnmower accident. What started as a horror story has turned into…

Posted by KWWL on Thursday, December 20, 2018

Ryan Manahl had one wish walking into to his son’s appointment, that Tate would be able to walk out of it with him.

On Thursday, Tate had an appointment at the hospital to see if he had healed enough to be able to walk out the doors for the first time without any help from a cast or walker.

In the past 16 months, Tate hasn’t been cleared to walk on his own until now.

In the doctor’s office, Tate hand-in-hand with his dad slowly shows up his ability to walk to his orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Michael Willey.

Examining the new round of x-rays of Tate’s leg, Dr. Willey said Tate had made great progress in healing.

“He had a seven-centimeter bone defect in his tibia that we treated with a bone transport,” Dr. Willey said as he points to Tate’s leg in the x-ray.

Tate’s leg had healed enough for the surgeon to give him the OK to walk again.

“He’s been a trooper through all of this. I’ve been really impressed with how tough he is, how much healing potential he has,” Dr. Willey said.

Tate can now walk all on his own for the first time since he was caught under that lawnmower.

“The feeling that he can walk out of here on his own with no support, his bone finally healed is just a blessing. It’s just the best Christmas gift you could ask for and we always cherish that,” Ryan Manahl said.

With little steps but big strides, now at four-years-old, Tate’s recovery road has been nothing short of amazing.

“The day of the accident I would have never dreamed we’d be where we’re at today. Yes, it took a while but it’s so worth it,” his dad said.

Tate’s little body has done through so much since that day 16 months ago. His dad adds it’s more than anyone could ever imagine.

After the accident, his family didn’t know if doctors would be able to save his legs. They did and they saved his ability to walk again.

“I see him doing really well in the future running jumping playing sports all that I think the’s going to do really well,” his doctor said.

More than 30 operations later, Tate walks out of the children’s hospital, a hospital he’s spent so much time in, hand-to-hand with his dad.

“He never stops amazing us what he can do,” Manahl said. “Tate has his whole life ahead of him.”

Manahl says Tate’s journey wouldn’t have been possible without all the help he and the family have received. He says they are forever grateful for those that stepped in to help that day and every day since.

Tate’s dad continues to be an advocate for lawnmower safety. He encourages other families to learn from their story and to teach children the dangers of lawnmowers. He says lawnmowers shouldn’t be seen as a fun ride and kids should stay inside when mowing.

Jalyn Souchek

Jalyn Souchek

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