OSU Student Survives Grain Elevator Accident, Works To Become Doctor

Wednesday, November 18th 2015, 11:03 pm
By: News 9

Four years ago a terrible accident dealt him a cruel hand, but a senior at Oklahoma State says he’s finally come out “on the other side of this".  

Tyler Zander was 17 years old and working a summer job at a grain elevator, just north of Enid in August of 2011.  A sudden shift of energy, Zander said, sent a co-worker into a large metal auger, which is basically a giant metal corkscrew.  Zander tried to help his co-worker, but both young men suffered serious injuries and both lost one of their legs. 

Zander was rushed to OU Medical Center where he underwent 30 surgeries, he required 97 units of blood, and he lost more than 50 pounds. He spent 72 days in the hospital.   

“I believe I was only minutes or seconds away from death and I wasn’t afraid,” Zander said Wednesday afternoon from a university gym in Stillwater. 

Zander said physical fitness has proved to be one of the keys in keeping him from getting depressed. 

In fact, he’s in great physical shape, and is on schedule to graduate this spring from OSU. He plans to become a heart surgeon one day, and OU’s Medical School is at the top of his list. 

“There is some irony working there.  Yeah yeah, there really is, there really is,” Zander said. “Honestly after being there for that long, I kind of feel like my heart’s there, I kind of feel I belong there.  Everybody at OU Medical Center is just like my family now.”