Teen in Central Park explosion gets new leg

The Virginia teen whose leg was amputated after stepping on a homemade explosive in Central Park this summer has taken his first steps since the tragedy.

Connor Golden, a North Virginia native and college student, posted a photo standing with crutches and a new prosthetic leg on his GoFundMe page, where he thanked all who had donated more than $72,000 to help pay for his medical expenses and recovery.

“This past week, I returned to school and took my first steps on a prosthetic leg, which all of you have helped me pay for (in addition to other medical bills and recovery expenses),” said Golden, 19, in a recent update to his page. “I am posting with this note a photo of me at the prosthetist’s office on the day I received the prosthetic leg. You’ll see that I’m smiling in the photo.

“That’s not just because I’m happy to begin walking again,” he continued. “It’s also because I am so grateful for the huge amount of love and caring that has taken me from the shock of July 3 in Central Park, through the very difficult operations at Bellevue hospital, through police questioning and media pressure, through the healing process while at my parents’ house in Northern Virginia, through my trip back to school while on a wheelchair and crutches, to standing on my new leg.”

Golden was visiting New York City with two friends on July 3 when he stepped on a discarded explosive during a walk through Central Park. Police said they believed a hobbyist had crafted the explosive for the July 4 holiday and had brought it to the park for testing. Golden had detonated it after jumping from a rock in the park.

Golden signed off his post with “forever grateful” as he begins a new semester studying music engineering at the University of Miami.

“I cannot find words that adequately express my gratitude for how much hope and support you all have given me,” he said. “It is a beautiful thing to see how many people are by my side when a tragedy like this strikes.”