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Teen burn victim who lost hands, foot is back home after 178 days in hospital

<i>WPVI</i><br/>Austin cheered on his sister from the sideline of her playoff game. He was badly burned in an accident in May.
Austin cheered on his sister from the sideline of her playoff game. He was badly burned in an accident in May.

By Christie Ileto

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    GLENSIDE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) — In his first hour after being discharged from Shriners Hospitals for Children, Austin Beltrante sat in his new wheelchair on the sideline of a field hockey playoff game in Glenside, Pennsylvania.

Only Action News was there as the 14-year-old cheered on his sister. Tuesday marked Austin’s first day out of the hospital after nearly 6 months of care.

The 9th grader was shocked in May when he stepped on a live wire near SEPTA’s tracks in Devon, Chester County.

He lost both hands and one foot; he also had burns on 75% of his body.

“I’m very happy to be out and I’m also very thankful for all the people who prayed for me and cared for me, especially the nurses and doctors,” said Austin.

Health care workers at both St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and Shriners, and a group of supporters known as “Austin’s Army,” held fundraisers to help with Austin’s medical bills.

“It means a lot because they’ve been supporting me,” he said.

Once an active teen who loved all things sports, particularly boxing, Austin will have to relearn how to do the things that used to be second nature.

“Austin has always been a tough kid,” said the boy’s father, John Beltrante.

Austin’s father credits his son’s upbeat mindset to sports.

“He’s not looking through the rearview mirror, he’s pretty much looking through the windshield,” said John.

“I’ll just think of the future and that I’m going to get prosthetics, and that things are going to get better,” said Austin.

Austin has a long road to recovery, but that clearly hasn’t slowed him down. On Sunday, his family will celebrate with a welcome home parade.

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