The following is excerpted from LDS Living. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.

Gary Weiland was tossing a football with his kids during their family’s annual Thanksgiving “turkey bowl” when he suddenly felt the blood drain from the vessels of his left leg and fail to return. The pain stopped him short. He’d dealt with knee trouble before—he’d even had surgery for some routine repairs on a joint that had been battered by years of playing competitive sports. But this pain was different; something was seriously wrong.

At the hospital, Weiland found out that his condition was a fluke complication from his routine knee surgery two years earlier. “It literally cut the blood flow to my foot. … The circulation quit in that artery. And that was it,” Weiland says.

Even today, Weiland, 42, hesitates to talk in detail about what happened next. In short, 13 hours of surgery failed to fix the problem. That Thanksgiving Day was the last time he’d ever walk on his own two legs.

“They let [me] know that … they [couldn’t] restore circulation, and so they [were] going to have to amputate my leg,” Weiland recalls. That’s all he’ll say before quickly moving on: “I don’t focus on that, though. It’s, in a lot of ways, the worst day of my life. But I try not to focus on any of those things. I try to focus on … the good things that have come since then.”

And good things certainly have come since that day, including opportunities to compete at top athletic levels. But in his ascent to the heights of elite ninja warrior, Weiland had to start from the very bottom.

To read the full article, CLICK HERE.