An amputation can be career-ending and life-shattering for any athlete. However, with a positive attitude and an encouraging support system, this athlete has been able to overcome the tragedy that befell him at a very early age.
In June of 2002, Brad Hurtig, a junior at Fairview High School in Sherwood, Ohio, was involved in an industrial accident at a stamping factory which resulted in the amputation of his right arm, four inches below the elbow, and the amputation of three fingers on his left hand. Brad was rushed to a local hospital and later taken to the Toledo Hospital, where he underwent numerous surgeries.
“After about a month of trying to salvage my index and thumb with therapy, the doctors needed to amputate all that remained of my left hand,” says Hurtig. “It seemed to me like life was starting all over again. I was going to have to learn to do everything in a new manner. That is, of course, if I would be able to do them at all.”
Hurtig’s relationship with SRT Prosthetics and Orthotics began when Sam Santa-Rita, owner, overheard Brad’s uncle discussing the accident. Sam immediately got Brad’s attention with a demonstration of a myo electric prosthetic arm, and Brad has been under SRT’s care ever since.
With the support of his friends, family and community, Brad was finally able to return home, where he continued to play varsity baseball and varsity football, where he holds the record for most tackles in a season.
Brad recalls his first day back on the football field stating, “I was sitting next to my coach on the bench during practice and I was trying to reach the water bottle on the ground next to my feet. I hadn’t received my prosthetics yet, and I asked my coach to hand the bottle to me,” says Brad.
“I guess if you’re thirsty enough you’ll find a way to pick it up,” the coach replied.
“That was a big part of my recovery,” states Hurtig. “It made me realize that I could do normal things for myself with a little extra effort.”
Brad went on to graduate from Fairview High School and Northwest State Community College in Archbold, Ohio, with an associate’s degree in mechanical engineering. He still resides in Sherwood, Ohio, where he is a youth director at Sonrise Community Church. His proud family includes his parents, Kim and Jim Hurtig, as well as his brothers Jeff, Brian and twin brother, Chris.
Throughout this entire experience, Brad has never lost faith. He is highly involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, leading students at Fairview Middle School and Fairview High School in devotions and prayer during football games. He also continues to give several motivational speeches to schools, churches and youth groups. If you would like Brad to speak at your next event, please feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org