No one can control what happens to them, but everyone can control how they react. On a Minnesota night in the winter of 2013, Daniel Edmondson fell into catastrophe, where the track called for action to survive.
“Unaware that his lower legs had just been severed, Daniel Edmondson knew only that he had gotten caught on the train while trying to jump between cars and was being dragged through the snow,” reported The Star Tribune. “Adrenaline pumping, Edmondson saw a bridge approaching and worked frantically to free himself before being smashed into the concrete or dropped into the river. The survival of this YMCA lifeguard and safety instructor is a cautionary tale of the high risk of hopping trains. It’s also one of fortitude and moving ahead, despite life’s unexpected twists.”
When we met Dan at the Amputee Coalition conference in Arizona, less than 2 years after his accident, he wasn’t sitting in on a lecture. He was running around looking for people to go mountain biking with him. Acceleration, speed, movement; that is what has always driven Dan and what continues to propel him forward.
People may change shape, but they don’t change at heart.
Not a day goes by now that Dan isn’t exploring, trying new activities and pushing his limits. Take for example his passion for skateboarding. Just skating is not enough. Dan’s goal is to hit, “the fastest speed achieved by a bilateral amputee on a skateboard.” He is awaiting approval from Guinness to attempt this World Record and will train into next year
Whether he meets this goal or not, support has followed his ambition. The Adaptive Skate Kollective is a group of dedicated riders who aim to eliminate stigmas, barriers, and gaps between the ‘able’ bodied and ‘disabled’ community. Dan trains with them and helps spread the skate culture wherever he goes.
“When I hear the roar of skateboarding wheels on concrete, my heart gets going.”
Skateboarding is a sport that gives Dan focus and connects him to his body. “My feet can still feel the vibration on the board,” explained Dan during a recent trip to San Francisco. We talked a lot about Dan’s feet because he had just bought a new pair of shoes to go with his new UNYQ prosthetic covers and he shared with us the extensive process of finding the right shoes for a bilateral amputee constantly seeking balance.
“Wearing my covers allows me to blend in. If Superman doesn’t want anyone tugging on his cape, he puts on a suit.”
When Dan put on his covers for the first time, he looked down and for the first time since his accident, he saw the shape of legs, his legs. The next day, walking around the streets of San Francisco, Dan noticed that people weren’t staring at him. Not that the stares ever bother him, but he can always feel them. Sometimes people even come up, uninvited, to ask incredibly personal questions — a situation many amputees face.
“My covers are just as much about feeling good as looking good. People notice less often and when they do they’re not only shocked, but pleasantly surprised.”
Like so many other amputees who have transitioned to stylish covers, Dan noticed that the conversation with others changed from “what happened to you?” to “Wow, those are cool, where did you get them?” For Dan, his covers quickly became a new extension of his adventurous personality.
“When I wear my covers I feel like Clark Kent with two buttons undone, waiting for an opportunity to shed my disguise and save the world.”