Man who lost leg inspires beyond the weight room

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A 23-year-old man can deadlift, squat and train just as hard as any other gymgoer, but he only has one leg.

Nathan Seawood doesn’t let his disability keep him from the weight room. Instead, he’s learning to bear a different load.

“This is not just a physical battle in the gym,” Seawood said. “It’s a mental battle for myself.”

Refusing to be weighed down by his disability, Seawood draws strength from his mind, as he fights to make it through each rep.

“That takes a lot out of me,” he said. “I push my body so hard that I’m exhausted.”

His grit stems from a time when he thought he might have to rack the weights for good. Seawood ended up in a hospital bed with one leg after falling off a boat in Long Lake near Traverse City in June 2019. His left leg got caught in the propeller and had to be amputated.

“I didn’t want people to see me,” Seawood said. “I couldn’t come to terms what had happened to me because, you know, it’s a lifestyle change, brand new. And that was hard. I was down bad.”

An undated courtesy photo of Nathan Seawood during rehabilitation.

Seawood said a therapist helped lift his spirits but his own determination guided every step during physical therapy.

“I wanted to be able to walk and that was difficult because, you know, I’m using muscles that never really get noticed as much,” Seawood said.

Seawood’s now using those muscles to train hard at Grand Rapids City Gym, inspiring those around him to keep pushing.

“He faces obstacles that most of us don’t have to,” Jeff Phillips, who owns the gym, said. “I mean, he’s in here, he has one leg, so he’s doing a lot of the same lifts that everybody with two legs are doing. It’s definitely motivating to see him in here doing that.”

Despite life’s best attempt to knock him down, Seawood is still standing, and while he may exercise differently than others, he’s thankful to still be moving.

“I might have a disability, but I’m not disabled,” Seawood said.

Nathan Seawood works out at Grand Rapids City Gym on May 11, 2021.

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