King of The Road

Friday, September 10, 2010 - 4:34pm

Tot who lost arms and legs is mobile again thanks to high-tech wheelchair.

It's been almost one year since Austin Schoppert Coffee came down with a rare form of bacterial meningitis and lost both his arms and legs.

The 3-year-old boy from Tea, South Dakota is now in physical therapy, learning how to walk...and drive.

"He can go out there and drive to the park and see the kids," said Heather Coffee, Austin's mom.

He's had his wheelchair for a week and is already king of the road.

Every kid in High Point in fascinated by him, you know? 'Look at Austin, there he goes!' and he can get all over," said Sharon Coffee, Austin's grandmother.

Austin goes to Children's Care Hospital in Sioux Falls three days a week to relearn how to use his limbs.

Now he's working on walking with his prosthetic legs.

Every step is work for Austin, and while he may get frustrated, therapists say he's doing quite well.

"It's very hard work, and that's why we do short distances and give him breaks in between because he does tire out." said Kate Nuernberger, Austin's physical therapist.

The skills he develops here stay with him, as he new doors open.

"He's going up and down the stairs now by himself. He's eating by himself, pretty much." said Heather.

"Never ever did I think he would be doing this," said Sharon.

With each session that passes, he's closer to being able to do it all by himself.

"Hopefully sometime we'll be able to discharge him, he'll be doing so well," said Nuernberger.

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