SENTENCE USAGE: "That one summer Elrod nearly drowned while he was runnin’ his trot line, got his leg nearly tore off by that dog down at the junk yard and got struck by lightning. He pretty much turned into a basket case when the Dickerson boys shoved him under the outhouse."
What is a basket case?
In popular usage "basket case" refers to someone in a hopeless mental condition, but in origin it had a physical meaning. In the grim slang of the British army during World War I, it referred to a quadruple amputee; if a soldier had lost his arms and legs in combat he would have to be carried in a basket; thus, too impaired to function. This is one of several expressions that first became popular in World War I, or that entered American army slang from British English at that time.