There are resilient people, and then there is Christy Gardner. While working for the U.S. Military Police in Korea in 2006, the Lewiston, Maine resident suffered multiple catastrophic injuries that few people thought she could ever recover from.
According to the Army, Gardner suffered the following injuries: skull fracture that wiped out most of her memory, leg injuries that resulted in below-the-knee amputation in both legs, spinal injury, loss of hearing in her left ear, and two missing fingers on her left hand.
Gardner not only recovered, but she is thriving and proving to be an inspiration to many.
After relearning to read, write, and speak, Gardner is beginning to live her life again. She took up sled hockey and has been on the U.S. women’s national team since 2014.
“Sled hockey has truly helped me heal physically and mentally,” Gardner told the U.S. Army website.“Getting the opportunity to participate in something like this has me proud of the abilities I still have.”
Sled hockey is not her only passion. She is a star in track and field where she won the discus in the 2017 U.S. Paralympic Track and Field Championships. Gardner is hoping to be on the U.S. team that competes in the 2021 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. “I thrive on the energy of being on a team,” Gardner toldJon Stewart during an interview with SC Featured. “Like in the military, I know everyone on the team has my back.”
Gardner also trains other adaptive athletes with military backgrounds and works on a farm that trains hunting and service dogs. “It’s seriously the best job ever,” Gardner told ESPN. “I get paid to play with puppies all day.”
After her injuries, doctors told her that she probably wouldn’t be self-sufficient and live on her own, but Gardner proved them wrong. She is living a great life and doing what she loves to do.
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