Last October I was involved in a life changing accident. Over the past three years I have developed a real passion and love for skydiving. In its purest form, it is flying and something that I truly and deeply enjoy. I still have dreams about flying by way of skydiving!
However, on October 13, due to a sequence of tragically cloaked sequence of events, I had to effect a downwind landing into a vineyard, under canopy, after completing a really fun jump with my dear friends JT Holmes and Timy Dutton. It turned out to be a problematic situation, as while I was landing, one of the posts used to support the vines in the vineyard took off my arm.
The next 15 minutes had me lying there, with my arm detached, remarkably close to dying due to blood loss and in a real rough patch. I was recently asked to write about this incident in essay form for some dear friends that are compiling a book. More can be found on my accident by way of this essay, if you care to understand the circumstances around my accident in greater detail.
I lived through the day and somewhat miraculously was able to keep my arm. I was told by many surgeons that my injury and trauma was similar to some of the trauma that they had seen come back to the states from the warriors engaged in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. After 24 surgeries, two and a half months in the hospital, incredible support from my wife Karen and my friends and extensive physical therapy, I now find myself in a very good place. Relative to recovery, the path has not been without a fair amount of pain. I’ve developed a bit of a mantra around
“Unbreakable | Will” so to guide and drive me through some of the more challenging and painful moments. While I certainly lead a substantially changed life, I have returned to my passions of trail running, cycling and more. “Normal” is coming back into focus. It feels great.
Interestingly and somewhat relatedly, this past spring, one of our country’s great special operations warfare teams was training on our mountain here at Squaw Valley. Our company is a stalwart supporter of the great men and women of our military and this group found a warm welcome while training in the cold mountain environment. While seeking not to disclose inappropriate levels of detail, I ended up befriending this team, a group of Navy SEALs. Conversations with the whole team around our collective / mutual love of skydiving, my accident, some of their losses of friends and more created a bit of a bond and friendship from what was already my tremendous respect for them. What a very fine group of young men
So, as I continue on my path of recovery and goal set while “seeking normal”, I have committed to competing in the next few Half Ironman Lake Tahoe events. I have done many triathlons in the past, but I anticipate that with the loss of my latissimus muscles and bicep muscle, that this will be an appropriate challenge! This years event will have me doing the running leg of a team entry featuring a good friend of mine from college doing the bike leg. I hope to compete with the drive, courage and will as demonstrated by the fine gentleman of this SEAL team.
Our Ironman team’s name is “Wounded Warrior Support“and in honoring the fine men of the Navy SEALs, my team and I are raising funds for the Navy SEAL Foundation. Please consider making a donation with our visa or mastercard payments page. This is a very high-quality organization in every facet which supports our special operations team members and their families after they return home; all of which I have verified with a number of my SEAL team friends. Include logo from the foundation
Here’s my humble request: please consider contributing to this organization as I take on the training for and competition in the Half Ironman as a substantial part of my path to recovery. Thank you so very much, in advance, for your support.
I hope that like me, you will enjoy the rest of the summer. Be well.