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Fireworks accident changes Oklahoma man's life

by Jaclyn Cosgrove Modified: July 1, 2013 at 10:00 am •  Published: July 1, 2013

Before he got his left eyelid back, Taron Pounds wondered if he would have to relearn how to blink.

The past year has been a series of adjustments and uncertainties for Pounds.

He no longer has a hole in his left cheek. His doctor recently removed the tape from his new eyelid. And he isn't bothered any more by the occasional looks he gets in public — largely because, his injuries don't define who he is.

Pounds is a 23-year-old Tulsan who lost half his face in a fireworks accident. But there's a lot more to Pounds than what happened to him last July.

“I'm done crying, worrying, freaking out,” he said. “There are some days when I'm just really not feeling too hot, or I really don't want to get out, but everybody's got those days.”

‘I want to light one'

It only took a few seconds to end what had been a fun night. Pounds and his family were in Inola celebrating his cousin's wedding and the Fourth of July.

A band had just started playing, and Pounds noticed family and friends setting off fireworks.

“I saw one of the big ones go off, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I want to light one of those,'” he said.

They were setting off professional-grade fireworks from a plastic pipe that was buried in the ground and mounted in concrete.

He placed a mortar shell in the pipe and lit the fuse. The problem was the firework had two fuses, and Pounds lit the short one.

He put his arm up almost at the same time it hit him in the face. Instantly, his ears were ringing loudly. Everything was black. He could hear people calling his name.

For a second, he thought he was OK.

He tried to get up, and someone told him to get back down. He felt his jaw move in a way it shouldn't have. Pounds laid down and started to feel the pain. About 10 seconds later, he blacked out.

“I remember people saying, ‘Get some ice! Call 911!' I faded in and out. I could hear an ambulance arrive, someone saying, ‘Get him stable,'” he said. “I remember actually seeing blue and red flashing lights. But my next memories were all in the coma.”

At the hospital, Pounds would wake up from delusions and dreams that felt real. He would explain to his mom that Kevin Durant was hurt in an OKC Thunder game, and Pounds needed to sub in the game. He was mad at his mother because she wouldn't get him his basketball uniform.

It brought humor to Tammy Pounds' nightmare. At first, she didn't know if her son was strong enough to make it. But over the past year, she has seen Taron grow into a more empathetic person.

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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I'm realizing what's more important in life now, stripping away the vanity and what society says you should be.”

Taron Pounds,
Pounds, 23, lost

half his face in a fireworks accident last year. Doctors left extra skin attached to his face because they plan to use it for his

next surgery.


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