Kirk Nielson, a 9-year-old Algona boy who loves to ride motorcycles, recently severely injured his toe while riding.  He used Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to heal from the injury, and afterward he had the surprise of a lifetime…..

Article cited from MessengerNews

—Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
Kirk Nielson (center) stands with his autographed jersey and memorabilia that Fort Dodge graduate and retired motocross rider Justin Brayton surprised him with at UnityPoint. From left is Kirk’s mother Stacy, brother Colby, Brayton and his father Aksel.

Kirk Nielson’s face of shock quickly turned to an ear-to-ear smile when he met one of his heroes.

Nielson, a 9-year-old third-grader from Algona, was recently in a motorcycle accident and after one of his treatments at the Trinity Wound Healing Center in Fort Dodge, the staff and his family gave him the surprise of a lifetime Monday.

Nearly two weeks ago, Nielson suffered a foot injury at the Gypsum City OHV Park.

He was riding his motorcycle in the parking lot. The sun got in his eyes and his foot hit the peg on the motorcycle and crushed his toe.

He broke a bone in his toe and crushed three of the four arteries in the toe which allow blood to flow through it.

—Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
Kirk Nielson stands with Fort Dodge graduate and retired motocross rider Justin Brayton outside of UnityPoint.

Nielson has been undergoing treatment in the hyperbaric chamber at UnityPoint Health in the Trinity Wound Healing Center.

After his treatment on Monday, standing in the waiting room was Fort Dodge Senior High School graduate and retired professional motocross and supercross racer Justin Brayton.

“He had no idea and no clue,” said Aksel Nielson. “We (Aksel and wife Stacy) were very excited for him. They knew how much he loves motorcycles and one of the nurses is Justin’s sister (Shawna Schmidt) and they were going to get him a signed picture. But Shawna said she could do better than that and then we had Justin surprise him.

“It was great. Everybody had butterflies. He walked out and was shocked and got a picture with him.”

—Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
Justin Brayton signs a jersey for Kirk Nielson at the Trinity Would Healing Center at UnityPoint.

This was a shocking, yet big day for the 9-year-old.

“I was very happy to see him,” Kirk Nielson said. “I felt mad when it (the accident) happened because now I can’t go riding. I’ve been watching dirt bike videos (since I can’t go to school).”

For Brayton, who semi-retired recently from racing, it was a chance to give back and support a young rider who has supported him.

“First off, it was really cool to do something like this,” Brayton said. “I remember being his age and having idols, looking from the other side of the fence, riding dirt bikes. It’s neat that he is from around here and I have a soft spot for this area.

“His family told me he was an outgoing kid and I quickly figured that out from meeting him. When he came out it was like seeing a ghost. He was excited. I brought him a couple of things and a jersey. It’s nice to be able to brighten his day and lift his spirits.”

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
Kirk Nielson (left) stands with Fort Dodge graduate and retired motocross rider Justin Brayton near the hyperbaric chamber that Nielson uses at the Trinity Would Healing Center at UnityPoint.

Kirk Nielson, who is gearing up to get back on the bike, is just excited to be moving forward and Brayton remembers that feeling.

“I think it’s similar in all sports with anything that you have a passion for,” Brayton said. “You want to get back to that feeling and with something so fun and the adrenaline rush you get from riding, he is ready to get healed up.

“I’ve been through quite a few injuries and always wanted to get back going again. I think there is a danger factor in any sport, and that teaches you resilience and persistence.”

The plan was set up when Kelly Kraft, who is the hyperbaric oxygen therapy safety director, asked Schmidt if she could get a poster of Brayton.

“It was pretty neat,” Schmidt said. “Kelly came to me and asked if maybe I could get a signed poster. I thought, ‘He lives in town now, so I could do better than that.’

“He (Brayton) was all for it and was humbled to do it. We had it planned for weeks now and we all were looking forward to doing it.

“It was exciting to see Kirk’s reaction. He kind of froze up and his hands got sweaty and he buried his head in his mom’s arms. He kept looking up to see if it was the guy he has idolized for a long time was actually there.”

After the accident it was kind of rough for Kirk Nielson, because according to his dad, he doesn’t like to sit around.

“He has just been ready to be off of crutches and back to normal,” Aksel Nielson said. “He doesn’t want to sit, he just wants to go wide open and that is the hardest part for him.

“The other day, his brother was getting ready to ride, and asked us to schedule the appointment and just have his doctor ‘chop it off’ so he could go riding.”

The surprise wasn’t just special for Kirk Nielson, it was a big deal for his older brother, 17-year-old Cody, as well.

“I was very excited and happy for him,” Stacy Nielson said. “My oldest son was excited as well.”

The Nielsons, who also have two daughters (Carley, 15, and Rikiya, 11) felt blessed by the outcome of the accident.

“We feel very fortunate that it wasn’t worse,” Aksel Nielson said. “He can still enjoy the sports he plays (football, wrestling and baseball) and live his life and be a kid.”