Tanner Johnson is the grandson of former MLB player Howard Johnson, who played for the Mets, Tigers, Rockies and Cubs, from 1982 to 1995

By Jason Duaine Hahn
July 09, 2021 02:45 PM
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Tanner Johnson
Credit: GoFundMe

The young grandson of former MLB player Howard Johnson was badly injured in a lawn mower accident this week that left him hospitalized with lower leg injuries.

According to a GoFundMe campaign set up by the family, 2-year-old Tanner Johnson lost all five toes and part of his left foot after being run over by the machine on Tuesday. Tanner was taken to a hospital near their home in Tennessee before he was transported to Nashville's Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, WZTV reported.

"He will need multiple surgeries, plastic surgery and intensive care at the hospital over the next few months and future surgeries as he grows," Johnson, 60, told the outlet of his grandson's recovery process. "It is going to be a long and difficult process for this family."

Johnson — nicknamed "HoJo" during his career — played in the MLB from 1982 to 1995 and spent time on the Detroit Tigers, New York Mets, Colorado Rockies and Chicago Cubs.

"We have been praying nonstop for Tanner and the family for God's peace and healing hands," Johnson wrote on Twitter. "We also pray for the doctors as they figure out what to do next…this little boy turns 2 in a couple weeks and instead of playing baseball, swimming, or running and he's gonna be in a hospital room."

Johnson said the family is "unprepared" for the emotional and financial toll of the accident, and is hoping to raise $75,000 to help with expenses.

"Any help is appreciated for Tanner," Johnson wrote. "We've set an ambitious goal yet we know that won't cover the costs associated with the accident…it's going to be a long road ahead BUT a successful one…thank you all for your love and support…Hojo."

On Friday, Johnson posted a video of Tanner learning to move his legs with the help of a walker. The day before, the toddler seemed to be in good spirits as his family took him around the hospital in a children's wagon.

"The nurses are trying to teach him to walk and not put too much weight on his left foot. It's gonna take some time," Johnson explained.

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According to the family's GoFundMe, Tanner has the "sweetest spirit" and is "such a happy little boy." He has recently taken a liking to baseball, "just like his dad and grandpa did," the page said.

Johnson said his grandson will undergo a series of surgeries on Friday to clean his wound and cover the damage with artificial skin.