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Scott Rigsby, Double-Amputee Ironman

Scott Rigsby, the first double-leg amputee athlete to finish the grueling 140-mile Ford Ironman Marathon. Scott came to Grand Rapids in March to speak to the audience about his life, his book “UnThinkable,” and the importance of an active lifestyle. The event, “No Finish Line in Site,” was sponsored by Mary Free Bed, Gazelle Sports and First United Methodist Church of Grand Rapids.

His journey began on July 23, 1986, in his hometown in Georgia. Just months after graduating high school, Scott was in a traumatic accident.

After a long day working his summer job, Scott and his friends were sitting in the back bed of a moving truck on their way home. A fast approaching semi-truck attempted to pass them, knocking Scott off the truck and dragging him 325 feet.

Scott survived the accident but broke his femur, putting him in a wheelchair for two years. His right leg was immediately amputated below the knee. His left leg was salvaged to his foot. Doctors reconstructed his heel. During his first 6 weeks in rehab, Scott endured 8 painful surgeries and within the year he had undergone 17 surgeries.

Scott has this advice for people living with a physical disability or fighting illness:

You need to set your short-term expectations low. Be kind to yourself mentally and set realistic expectations. If you want to be walking in 3 months, give yourself 6 months. You may be struggling physically, but it’s your mind you have to battle. Every day I focused on what I could do, not what I couldn’t do. What happens is progress. You can’t allow doubt to enter your mind.

After finishing rehabilitation, Scott experienced a dark period in his life. Addicted to alcohol and paid medications, he slipped into a deep depression. One day, Scott realized God had a greater plan for him and his life. To read more about his battle, from his accident to the Ironman, pick up a copy of Scott’s inspirational book.

Today, Scott tours the country as a motivational speaker, inspiring others to do the unthinkable in their own life. Scott also raises funds for the Scott Rigsby Foundation, which is dedicated to influencing all physically challenged people to pursue an active lifestyle.

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