Amy Purdy’s Triumphant Return to Snowboarding After Double Amputation | Where Are They Now | OWN

Amy Purdy’s Triumphant Return to Snowboarding After Double Amputation | Where Are They Now | OWN

February 25, 2020 2 By Jose Scott


The day that my
life changed forever, I woke up just
like any other day. I felt great, as I did
all the other days. I was 19 years old. And I went to work, I
was a massage therapist. After about my third
massage I was exhausted. And I thought, gosh,
this guy is draining me. But over the next
hour or so I started to realize that my energy
level continued to fade and thinking I had the flu. But within the next 24
hours, I was in the hospital fighting for my life. It wasn’t the flu, it was
meningococcal meningitis. Which we have no
idea how I got it. I was given less than
a 2% chance of living. And due to everything that I
went through, septic shock, I ended up losing
my kidney function. I lost my spleen. I lost the hearing
in my left ear, and also I ended up losing
both my legs below the knees. Going into surgery was crazy. There’s nothing that can
prepare you for that situation. I was going in with legs,
and aware that I was going to come out without my legs. I needed to get myself
through that situation. So as I was being wheeled
into the operating room, I gave myself a couple goals. I was going to snowboard
again that year. And I was going to
figure out a way to help other people do the same. I remember getting off the
chairlift and being fine. It felt different. I carved on my heel edge
and everything felt OK. But then I went to
carve on my toe edge and ended up getting out
of control and falling. And my legs flew
down the mountain, still attached to my snowboard. And it was a complete disaster. And I was incredibly
discouraged. But I also knew if I
could figure out a way to keep these legs attached, if
I could figure out a way to get my ankles to move the
way I need them to, that I would be able
to do this again. What makes this foot really
dynamic and interesting is it has basically a
mountain bike shock in it. And that shock can be adjusted
with how much pressure you add. So if I add less
pressure, then I actually get more
ankle movement, which gives me more knee movement. And if I add more pressure,
then I get less ankle movement. But with more pressure,
I might actually get a better edge when I ride
my edges on my snowboard. So it’s always this balance
of how much pressure you want depending
on what movements we’re doing on the mountain.