Man finds determination after legs amputated

Kent County

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — After he was hit by a car two years ago, Nathan Wolford thought he wouldn’t be able to do the things he loves. He was wrong.

In 2017, Wolford landed a summer job working for the Department of Public Works in Fremont.

“I got put on the brush pickup crew,” he said. “I was hit from behind by a car. A car crashed into me and pinned me up against the back of the wood chipper. I was pinned between the car and the wood chipper for roughly an hour.”

It was an hour to think about what had happened, how it happened and what it meant for his future.

“There was part of me (that knew) things aren’t going to be the same anymore,” Wolford said.

Nathan Wolford after crash
An undated courtesy image of Nathan Wolford in the hospital after a crash that led to the amputation of both his legs.

Doctors tried to save Wolford’s legs but an infection took over. Amputating his legs above the knees became the only option.

“I started thinking about all the things that I thought I was never going to be able to do again,” Wolford said. “Like play drums, run around with my friends and hang out, go to concerts, things like that. I was just like, I’m never going to be able to do anything of this stuff ever again.”

After surgery, he started on short prosthetics called “stubbies.” It was a way to help him learn how to walk again.

Then he attended Hanger Clinic’s BAKA Bootcamp in Oklahoma City, where he was able to meet and learn alongside others who have also had amputations.

His permanent prosthetic legs have microprocessor-controlled, waterproof prosthetic knees.

“The sensors in the feet can kind of read when I’m taking a step and then they’ll make the knee bend and kind of give me that stride and help me be able to walk,” Wolford said.

It’s important for him to share his comeback story so others can find hope.

“(People) can see I went through all this craziness but now life is good and I’m living life and I’m independent,” he said.

He is training for a 5K run, has taken five trips this year and is back to drumming.

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