Louisville, Ky. (WDRB)-- After years of pain from a motorcycle accident, athlete Jack Jesse made the difficult decision to amputate his leg. But that didn't stop him from competing. Now he's learning the true meaning of strength.
Jesse never shies away from a fight. The Louisville man has competed in power lifting and won Indiana's Strongest Man in 2004.
"I love being competitive," said Jesse. "I loved it and I still miss it."
A motorcycle accident in 2006 put that dream on hold.
"Basically all it did was tore the tendons and ligaments in my knee. They kind of did some experimental metal. It got infected. They closed it up and it ate all the bone and tissue," he said.
Twenty-eight surgeries followed and ten years of unbearable pain. Eventually it got to be too much.
"I didn't like the person I was becoming," said Jesse.
He made the decision to amputate his leg.
"You really don't want to say go on and take my leg, but I was at the point so I did it," he said. "And looking back I wish I'd done it sooner."
It didn't take long for him to get back in the gym.
"I got back in the gym within three weeks after my amputation," he said.
He quickly adjusted to a new way of life. But finding his place in competition took some time. He competed in body building contests but missed Strongman. Then he saw amputees competing at the Arnold Classic.
"I had no idea they had anything like that," he said.
He finally found what he'd been missing.
"You're going to fall down and I just got right back up and keep going."
The next March he participated in the Arnold Classic Disabled Strong Man followed by America's Strongest Disabled Athlete in Ohio.
"Everything we do is seated down. We do atlas stones, seated dead-lift, a dumbbell medley," said Jesse.
After just two strongman competitions he ranked forth in the nation, which earned him an invite to the World Championships.
"They called me two weeks notice, ask me do I want to go to the World's Disabled Strongest Man in Canada. So two weeks notice, no training I was like yeah let's go!"
With a world competition under his belt, he's back to doing what he loves.
"It's more an inner strength I believe now. A lot of mental strength which has overpowered everything else," he said.
While Jesse earned an invite to a Strongman competition in Iceland, he's decided to spend the next year training and working on his technique and speed. He hopes to compete in the Arnold Classic next March.
If you'd like to see strongmen in action, The Factory Gym is hosting a Strongman Competition August 3rd.
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