|Mathias Giordan, 12, an amputee from Leesburg, accepts an autographed copy of “Unthinkable,” which chronicles Scott Rigsby’s experience as a double amputee and Iron Man Triathlon veteran. Rigsby was among speakers at the Prosthetic Care Facility of Virginia in Leesburg. Mathias is a patient of facility owner and chief prosthetist John Hattingh. Times-Mirror/Rick Wasser|
On April 15, 2013, Scott Rigsby a native of Atlanta, Ga., joined thousands of Americans in the running of the Boston Marathon.
Unlike the average runner, Rigsby is a double amputee. He hasn't let that hold him back, as he was the first man in the world to finish the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon on two prosthetic legs.
In 1986, at the age of 18, Rigsby lost both his legs in a car accident while riding in the back of a pick-up truck in rural Georgia with friends after a hard day of landscaping work. They were hit by a passing 18- wheeler, throwing him underneath a 3-ton attached trailer and dragging him 324 feet.
After finishing his triathlon in front of 50 million people, Rigsby used the platform to begin writing a book, start a foundation and begin speaking to corporations, athletic teams and military bases.
With the unfortunate events at the finish line of the Boston Marathon last year, Rigsby began meeting with victims of the bombing afterward to share his personal story as well as his road to recovery and eventual athletic success to provide them with hope in their darkest hour.
“My Garmin said I was at 25.7 miles when the bombs went off. My manager [who was running with him] had run ahead of us and encountered the police officers, telling us to turn around because the race was over,” Rigsby said. “We didn't know why the race was over because even though I had 75 text messages I couldn't get a message out. They had shut the communication system down.”
Upon finding out there was a bombing, Rigsby, who had started the Scott Rigsby Foundation previously, activated his foundation. They started an Aid for Boston Campaign raising $300,000 for victims.
“I went on Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon and several others raising the money over several months to start a caregiver program at one of the local hospitals,” Rigsby said. “I remember at Mile Marker 23, I just sensed we needed to stop at the last two aid stations. I didn't want to, but I did. I took pictures with some of the Boston University students and we took our time spending about 8 minutes there.
“It was really just enough for us to miss those bombs.” Rigsby said.
As a motivational speaker, Rigsby travels 33,000 domestic miles within a month to speaking engagements.
Rigsby attended an event at the Prosthetic Care Facility of Virginia in Leesburg April 3 along with other amputee speakers.
The event also featured Cross Fitness expert and amputee Cindy Martin. John Hattingh, chief prosthetist and owner of the facility discussed the latest prosthetic technology available to amputees to help them lead a fully mobile lifestyle including athletic competition.
“This day is dedicated to showing amputees that life does not stop at amputation,” Hattingh said. “Our intention is to inspire amputees to become fit and active as well as to show them that a prosthesis can be comfortable, allowing them to pursue their mobility goals.”
Rigsby feels the experience of the Marathon last year adds to his story, enhancing his speaking engagements.
“The message I try to pass along is today's unthinkables are tomorrow's realities.”