WINDOM, Minn. — After losing his legs in a farm accident in September, a former professional Snocross racer is on the road to recovery.
"If I were to live anywhere, I'd probably still pick this spot," Travis Muller said.
Growing up near the town of Windom, Muller always knew the life he wanted was in his own backyard. The countryside gave him the space to become a professional Snocross racer. And when he retired from that, he focused on farming.
But on Sept. 24, life as Muller knew it, changed in an instant.
"Extremely quick. To the point that I thought was it a nightmare? Or was it reality? Man, I was just doing the same thing I always do," Muller said.
He was cleaning out a grain bin, getting ready for fall harvest, when his legs got caught in an auger.
"I could feel the auger right in my knee. I could feel that," Muller said. "I knew right away that my legs were not in good shape. And I realized pretty fast that I would probably lose them or part of them."
"Sunday afternoon I heard the page go out and I recognized the address. I knew it was going to be bad. Just had this gut feeling," Tim Hacker said.
Hacker is a long-time family friend and he was one of the first EMTs to respond. Having known Travis since he was a kid made this accident different.
"On my way out, all this stuff goes through your mind," Hacker said. "I pulled up to the bin, looked inside, and I just saw Trav laying in the sweep auger."
Hacker monitored Muller's vitals while deputies and paramedics worked to free him from the auger. Muller's uncle and dad had tied their belts around his legs, to stop the bleeding the best they could.
Another challenge for first responders was trying to get Muller through the tiny grain bin door. A stretcher wouldn't fit so they had to take him out on a tarp.
Once they did, Muller was airlifted to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale. His legs were so damaged that the only option was amputation. He then spent 25 days in the hospital recovering, with his wife, Jasmine, and his daughter, Shaylee, by his side.
"I actually held it together in the hospital for a long time and then several days later some emotions came, and I let it all out," Muller said.
Emotions he never expected to have.
"Maybe made it more normal because I just felt like my life was so good before. And it still is," Muller said.
With his family's help, Muller has made progress — he's already operating some equipment on his own. Prosthetics are in his future, but his friends know it won't be long before he's back to doing, what he loves.
"He's going to go places. He's going to do really well. He's an inspiration," Hacker said.
"Believe in God and that he can do really good things. Even if bad things get thrown your way. I feel like he's only going to give you what you can handle and it's just going to make you stronger," Muller said.
Muller will likely have new prosthetics for both legs in the coming weeks. He wants to thank everyone that helped him that day — including his family, law enforcement, paramedics and doctors.
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