BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (KSNW) – A Kansas paraeducator, who was critically injured in a 2015 car crash, has returned to work.
Belle Plaine High School Paraeducator Jacob Mansch said he’s still haunted by the crash.
“It’s still real emotional. I still wake up in the night because I have nightmares,” said Mansch.
Mansch, 37, and two of his coworkers were traveling from Belle Plaine to Garden Plain in September of 2015 when Mansch said the driver of the car he was in got distracted by his phone.
“He didn’t look up until we had just hit the guard rail,” he said.
Mansch was already in a wheelchair before the accident, suffering from Spina bifida. As a result of the crash, Mansch’s femoral artery detached from his body. His right leg had to be amputated and he had to leave his job at Belle Plaine High School.
“There was a lot of people who didn’t think I was going to make it,” Mansch said.
Since the crash, Mansch has spent nearly two years doing physical therapy in hopes of regaining movement in his hands with the ultimate goal of being able to care for himself once again.
“There were a lot of times that I thought to myself, why am I hanging on? Why am I just, why am I doing this to myself, but I knew I needed to do it for my family and for everybody,” he said.
Mansch said his family’s support and the goal of one day returning to work is what kept him strong in such a difficult time.
“My parents taught me never to give up, so I decided I wouldn’t give up at this point in time,” he said.
It’s a good thing Mansch didn’t give up. His recovery is going so well, he had the opportunity to return to Belle Plain High School as a paraeducator for the 2017 school year.
“It means everything because this has been my life for the past 15 years,” Mansch said. “It’s really great to be back with everybody, seeing the kids and all of my coworkers and all of that kind of stuff.”
Mansch is working part-time at the school with the hope of eventually becoming full-time. He is also an advocate against distracted driving.