MINOCQUA - December 4 was a night that junior Tyler Carroll will never forget. It was the night nearly half of his body was badly burned in a bonfire accident. Most of the burns were on his legs.
"For me to barely even walk, that was really hard for me," said Carroll.
Tyler was a star football, hockey, and track athlete for Lakeland Union High School. The accident ended his hockey season.
"I got two games in, scored two goals, having fun, and then that came to a halt, which was frustrating," said Carroll.
But Tyler's favorite sport is football. He's the quarterback and running back for Lakeland Union and plans to play in college as well.
"My first question was 'Can I play football again?' because that's my main focus. And when they said that I could play again, that's what kept me going," said Carroll.
He was in a burn unit in Madison for 28 days. For six of those days, he couldn't even move his legs.
"I lost 30 pounds of muscle in the hospital," he said.
Ninety percent of his left leg and 60 percent of his right leg needed skin grafts. Getting back on the track has helped Tyler gain some of that muscle back.
"Track was a question," he said. "They didn't know if I could do it or not, so I really pushed for that too. But I can't do hurdles, which was my main thing."
His friends and teammates made the difficult recovery a little bit easier.
"They've been there in the hospital. They visited me at the house when I was on house rest. It's been great to see them again and get back with them in track and football."
Lakeland Union's first meet will be held March 21. The next day, there will be a benefit to help Tyler and his family with medical bills. It will be April 22 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Arbor Vitae Town Hall.
The benefit will feature live music, a cash bar, raffles and more. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door for adults, and $5 in advance and $6 at the door for children. Tickets can be purchased at Preuss's Pub and Heart II in Woodruff.