Science teacher loses two toes in lawn mowing mishap

White plastic caps cover the steel pins that hold Schaar’s bones together. Schaar has had four surgeries in eight days. He has spent many frustrating hours in waiting rooms. “[Last week], I went to Grady [Hospital] and waited over six hours to talk to the doctor for ten minutes.”

David Schaar

White plastic caps cover the steel pins that hold Schaar’s bones together. Schaar has had four surgeries in eight days. He has spent many frustrating hours in waiting rooms. “[Last week], I went to Grady [Hospital] and waited over six hours to talk to the doctor for ten minutes.”

Dreams of June afternoons filled with wading in rivers and going fishing constantly come across science teacher David Schaar’s mind.

This image is not kept from reality because of the temperature of the water or by the time of year; it’s kept from reality because Schaar will spend that time between now and then recovering from a near death accident.

On Wednesday, April fourth (during spring break), Schaar encountered a freak accident while mowing his lawn and lost two toes on his left foot.

“I was cutting [my front lawn] with crocs on, and I slipped on the hillside while the mower was going,” Schaar said. “When I slipped, I pulled the lawn mower back and it fell forward, chopping through my [big toe] and my second toe like butter.”

As far as pain went, there wasn’t much of it. Schaar had sharpened the blades earlier that day. The blade went into his foot below the the first metatarsal (the joint between the big toe and the rest of the foot).

Between surgeries and waiting rooms, Schaar has spent most of his time at the hospital. “It’s pretty frustrating because the nurses don’t know [what ‘s happening], and most of the doctors are so busy, they don’t really have time to talk to me.”

It’s also hard for Schaar to be missing so much work. “I feel a bit guilty that I can’t be there helping kids finish the best they can, but at the same time, I can’t be there.” Schaar predicts he will return for the final few weeks of the school year in a wheelchair.

As disempowered as Schaar feels at times, he remains optimistic about his recovery. His family plays a big part in that. “It’s better to go through [pain] with someone you love. It hurts less,” Schaar said.

Schaar also has a humorous outlook of his future. He said the biggest changes would be his caution around power tools and no more flip flops. “I still will be able to do most of the things I love, like fishing and gardening.”

The accident could have been catastrophic. The future doesn’t look too different for Schaar, though. He looks forward to driving by himself and being able to carry a glass of ginger ale across the room. Schaar also looks forward to being able to chase his boys and getting his left foot wet.