Community steps up big to help young Kansas athlete fighting rare deadly infection


OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (WDAF) – An Overland Park girl is fighting for her life after developing an infection from a sports injury and a community is stepping up to help.

Brinley Hutson, a 12-year-old girl has already lost part of her leg to an aggressive infection and doctors at Children’s Mercy Hospital are trying to keep it from taking anything else, including her life.

“I worry,” Whitney Mamminga said. “I mean my kids been kicked 1,000 times in a game. How does this happen?”

Hutson was kicked in the leg during a soccer tournament at the end of May and days later, hit by a softball in the same spot.

What was a bruise turned into a lump accompanied by a fever. When antibiotics didn’t work, Hutson was brought to Children’s Mercy Hospital and doctors there were forced to amputate part of her leg to stop a rare strep infection from killing her.

“Her identity is an athlete and that’s the first thing she was concerned about when she came to after surgery,” Brandie England said. “That she would no longer be able to play sports.”

Described as one of the toughest, most competitive, hard working kids on the soccer and softball fields as well as the basketball court, the mom brigade behind Brinley STRONG is making sure the preteen has what she needs to hit the fields and hardwoods again.

A GoFundMe page created one day ago has already raised over $40,000.

“All that we want to do with raising money is help her to have access to the best care and the best prosthetics and everything that she can go back to life as close to normal as possible for her and show everybody what she has got,” England said.

Christy VanGassbeek was Hutson’s teacher in first and fifth grade. She said the community is coming together because that is what Hutson does. She is getting back what she has given out. Even at 12 years old.

“It’s heartbreaking to see a kid go through something like this,” VanGassbeek said.

One of the things that is extraordinary about the fundraising effort is how many kids have donated. Even some who don’t know her. Support she will need as this tough 12-year-old girl is in the fight for her life.

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