In 2021, Brinley Hutson suffered a soccer game injury that would lead to a months-long medical journey.
The Overland Park teen athlete suffered a rare infection that ultimately led to the loss of her leg. In response, the community stepped up to help the best they could.
Two years later at 14 years old, Hutson is back on the field and hopes to inspire others with her story.
Hutson lost her leg in May 2021
After getting stepped on during a soccer tournament, Hutson noticed a deep bruise in her left shin— later accompanied by a fever and related symptoms from the infection.
The roughly two months that followed the injury entailed 18 surgeries, including an emergency leg amputation at Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Hospital. To this day, Hutson said doctors aren’t fully certain what exact type of bacterial infection it was, but they knew it was life-threatening.
During her time at the hospital, members of the community banded together to support Hutson and her family. Family friend Brandie England launched a GoFundMe campaign to help with Hutson’s medical expenses, which raised $43,000 in one day.
This was something Hutson said she didn’t realize until after the most intense parts of her medical journey were over, she said.
“I don’t think I fully understood that then,” Hutson said. “But now I can look back and realize how many people were behind me.”
The community organized to help Hutson and her family
Following the launch of the initial GoFundMe page, Hutson said the community continued to support her in a number of other ways while she was undergoing medical treatment, from sending cards to helping her come up with things to do while she was in the hospital.
This support continued after she left the hospital as well. Most recently, drive-thru coffee chain 7 Brew recognized Hutson as last month’s “7 Brew Hero” award recipient.
On May 27, the owners of the 7 Brew stand at 11001 Metcalf Ave directed $3 from every drink purchase toward a new prosthetic leg for Hutson — which she’ll need as she continues to grow.
“They (kept) cheering her on throughout her journey,” said Brinkley’s mother Kim Hutson. “Whether it was going to a softball game or just letting her know that they were thinking about her and that they would rally behind her.”
Hutson returned to softball last fall
After her amputation and receiving her first prosthetic leg, Hutson resigned to return to sports. She said returning to the field last fall felt good, especially with the assistance of her coaches and trainers to help her adjust to her new normal.
She continued to play competitive softball after overcoming the hurdle of learning to play with a prosthetic leg. Hutson said this took time to adjust to, but after roughly two months, started to feel “like second nature” to her. Earlier this month, Hutson participated in the Endeavor Games for the first time — which is a sports competition created for athletes with adaptive abilities.
Today, she said if she could give any advice to someone going through a similar experience, she would encourage them to see the challenges through because getting to the other side makes it worth it.
“If you put your mind to something, there will be challenges,” she said. “But you should always stay with it, because in the end, you’ll most likely be happy with what you’ve decided to do.”
Her mother, Kim Hutson, said watching her daughter overcome toe struggles her medical journey presented has been inspiring over the last two years.
“It’s been pretty amazing getting to watch her tackle the challenges,” she said. “We’re just really beyond grateful for the community that has continued to support her, whether that’s through words of encouragement or being able to help out.”