Teen seriously injured on motocross track

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Chris Schmittel, a 13-year-old Canyon Lake resident, sustained serious injuries in a motocross accident at the Los Angeles County Raceway in Palmdale, California on Saturday, March 19. Chris was on the track practicing for a race when the accident occurred.

Lori Schmittel, the teen’s mother says, “The flaggers had ear buds in their ears and were listening to music when another person crashed and left their bike on the track. The flags weren’t up and Chris didn’t see the bike at the landing of the jump. He came over the jump and crashed into the bike, which threw him about 15 to 20 feet. He landed on his hip.”

Chris was airlifted to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “He shattered the top part of his femur that connects to his hip, and had to have reconstructive surgery,” says Lori. The surgery was to repair five fractures to his femur, greater trochanter, lower trochanter and upper shaft. The surgery lasted six hours.

After the first surgery they discovered that Chris had lost feeling in his right leg from the knee down. Lori says, “He had to have a second surgery to see if they could repair it. While in surgery, they found a piece of bone that was cut off and was pushing into his sciatic nerve.”

He now has some sensation and can even move his toes, but he won’t be able to move his right leg for three to four months. “The doctor said that, on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the worst, Chris is at a 9. There will be probably be some permanent damage but we won’t know how much until it heals,” says Lori.

Chris won’t be released from the hospital until he can be in a wheelchair. Lori says, “We are hoping that with physical therapy he’ll be able to get in a wheelchair soon.”

Lori, who is a registered nurse, will be taking time off work to care for her son and says, “Our house is full of stairs, so it is going to be difficult with Chris in a wheelchair. We have a downstairs family room that we plan to make handicapped accessible.”

Chris is Lori and Daniel’s only child. However, they are currently caring for their four nieces, ranging in age from 1 to 8 years old.

Chris has been riding since he was 3 years old and racing since the age of 4. He has received numerous holeshot awards and competition trophies.

Those who would like to send a get-well card to Chris, may send it to 22661 Buttercup Place, Canyon Lake, CA 92587. To help the Schmittel family with a monetary donation, visit their gofundme page at www.gofundme.com/tqv4x5u4.

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Donna Ritchie