Injury: Below Knee Amputation
Military Branch: USMC
My name is Ryan Zimmerer and I was born and raised in Valley View, Texas. After high school, I started college at North Central Texas College not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. It was at this moment I decided to join the Marines. On December 10, 2007, I left for Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD). In March 2007 I graduated boot camp, in May graduated School of Infantry, being stationed with 3rd Battalion 5th Marines Weapons Company.
I deployed with my Battalion to Okinawa Japan on the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit in January 2009. While aboard the USS Essix, I was injured during a training accident on February 4, 2009. I was training for VBSS (Visit Board Seize and Secure). The training exercise of the day was to fast rope (slide down rope with just your hands and feet on the rope) from the Helicopter to the flight deck of the ship. While going out of the Helicopter, my foot got caught up in the frame work, causing me to lose my grip on the rope, and to fall 50 feet to the flight deck of the ship. The fall knocked me unconscious instantly, but muscle memory stood me up, and I tried to run. The fall broke the left ankle, shattered the right ankle, tore my left hip, shattered my tailbone, compressed my lower back, and a Traumatic Brain Injury. I underwent 2 surgeries on the right ankle, and one on the left to reconstruct my ankles allowing me to be medically retired on February 28, 2010.
I moved back home to Valley View, Texas, where I started farming with my grandfather on the family farm, and took over my grandfather’s seed business where I sold seed to farmers. From 2010 to present I underwent 4 more surgeries before having my left leg amputated below the knee in October 2016 at Brooks Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. On December 7, 2016, I received my first prosthesis from the Center for Intrepid (CFI). I returned home the end of January where I joined up with class 8 at Adaptive Training Foundation. During this nine-week course, I regained strength, lost weight, and gained lost confidence. I participated in the Bataan Memorial Death March, went snowboarding in Vail, Colorado, and went snowboarding again as a returning participant to Military to the Mountain.
I am now currently enrolled in college at Texas Woman’s University. I will be getting my Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology Sports and Exercise with an emphasis in strength and condition, as well as become a personal trainer.