Schoolboy 'defies all odds' to walk again after being hit by car

Denis-Jack Ward, six, suffered a nasty open fracture to his leg in 2021, when he was hit by a car in front of his family.

A schoolboy has “defied all odds” by learning how to walk again, after he was struck by a car at four years old.

Denis-Jack Ward, six, suffered a nasty open fracture to his leg in 2021 when he was hit by a car in front of his family.

The youngster, aged just four at the time, was on his way to the shops with family when the accident unfolded.

Mum Dionne Leadbetter, from Tranent, East Lothian said: “We were crossing the road to get a slushie. I leaned out to see if it was safe to cross and he ran out onto the road. By the time I went to grab him, a car had already hit him.

“Denis-Jack collapsed on the ground, and I absolutely crumbled.

“When the ambulance arrived, they cut away his trousers and his leg swelled up to three times the size.

Denis-Jack underwent four operations in a month. NHS Lothian

“We were rushed to hospital and there were 14 nurses and doctors standing around him. It was so frightening.”

He suffered an open fracture to his leg, and the skin from his knee to his ankle was also removed in the accident, leaving medics unsure if he would ever walk again.

Within the span of a month, Denis-Jack underwent four operations at the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in an attempt to fix the bone and skin graft his leg.

He had to spend five months in a wheelchair and went on to begin a battle that would last for two years.

Denis-Jack started primary school for the first time on a part-time basis and had to use a walking frame.

But now he is able to walk and attend school without any assistance.

The six-year-old aspiring superhero said: “My very best memory was when I stood and walked for the first time again.

The six-year-old aspiring superhero is now back at school. NHS Lothian

“I had a big smile on my face and I was so happy.

“When I grow up, I want to be a superhero, but I know they don’t exist, so I’m going to have a superhero job instead!”

Ms Leadbetter, 31, added: “It has been really hard for him, especially because he was such an independent, sporty child.

“A huge part of his recovery was his determination to get back to what he loved doing most.”

Father Darren Ward, 38, said “Watching him get his dressings changed was really difficult. I hated seeing him in so much pain, but Denis-Jack has incredible mental strength and he’s the most caring, loving wee boy. I’m really proud of him, he’s my best pal.

“I’m just so thankful to everyone at the hospital – it was a really horrible time and if it wasn’t for them, I don’t know how I would have got through it. I can’t thank everyone enough that my little boy is still here.”

The six-year-old has recovered and now enjoys playing golf and football.NHS Lothian

Judith Montgomery, Major Trauma, Orthopaedics and Burns & Plastics physiotherapist at NHS Lothian, has been working with Denis-Jack since the accident and managed to get him back on his feet.

She said: “Denis-Jack is an incredibly resilient boy. From the outset, it was really unclear as to whether he would be able to keep his leg and the fact that he’s now fully recovered with not even a limp is incredible.

“He will always have the scars on his leg but now they just remind him how hard he has worked towards being able to walk again.

“We wish and his family the best of luck with everything.”

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