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Athlete tackles life after serious injury page 2
Spotsylvania boy has part of his right leg amputated but is on the road to recovery

 Chris Johann helps Jeremy Klingbeil work on his balance and strength during a physical therapy session. The 10-year-old, who lost part of his right leg in an accident this summer, was recently fitted with a prosthetic.
photos by REZA MARVASHTI/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 12/28/2012

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In fact, Jeremy was at Shriners to be fitted with his first prosthetic when he heard that his team had won the final game of the season.

During a recent interview he called it the world championship game, then smiled and corrected himself: "Well, not the world."

Jeremy proudly points out that only a few teams even scored against the Redskins.

ANGELS EVERYWHERE

Rick Klingbeil marvels at all of the community support.

A fundraiser for the family brought out hundreds to Salsarita's Fresh Cantina. People waited for an hour for a burrito, Klingbeil recalls.

"God has put so many people in front of me, it blows my mind," he said. He calls those people angels.

One of the angels was Jeremy's nurse at VCU Medical Center.

"He was just " Klingbeil said before Jeremy interjected: "awesome."

They didn't have to search for information when making a decision about Jeremy's amputation. The nurse brought doctors to them.

Then came other angels.

Like Jeremy's football coaches, including a combat-wounded assistant coach who took the youngster under his wing.

Like Jeremy's physical therapist, whom Jeremy would tease about his favorite football team's losing record.

Like Jacob Rainey, a star football player for a boarding school near Charlottesville who had his right leg amputated last year after suffering an injury during a game. Jeremy got to meet Rainey and watch him play.

There were also Jeremy's fellow Boy Scouts, who bought him a Kindle. In fact, a Scouting friend whose daughter is an amputee referred the family to Shriners, which covers expenses that insurance doesn't.

And Rick Klingbeil just happened to meet an amputee who was browsing the Fredericksburg art studio where he works. Turns out the guy makes prosthetics, and he gave the family his number if they need any help.

OVERCOMING OBSTACLES

Not that everything has been easy.

Jeremy, a fifth-grader at Wilderness Elementary School, used crutches during the first couple of weeks of school, then started bringing his wheelchair. He remembers falling off the monkey bars during recess, and his teacher putting him back into his wheelchair.

Jeremy also remembers the first time he tried to walk with a prosthetic. It was hard, and he said he cried.

"I really got stressed."

His dad told him it would get easier, but Jeremy didn't believe him.


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INSPIRATION is a series about people who encourage others with their kindness, courage or perseverance.