EXCLUSIVE: Man who jumped train, lost legs warns others - KMSP-TV

EXCLUSIVE: Man who jumped train, lost legs warns others

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A young Minneapolis man is sharing his story -- but it's more than a message, it's both a warning and a testament to how quickly and drastically a single condition can completely alter the course of a life.

Dan Edmonson lost both of his legs after he jumped onto a moving train. In his first-ever on-camera interview, he told Fox 9 News that although dealing with the trauma isn't easy, he won't let it stop him from moving forward.

"I ran up and jumped on the train," he recalled. "Went to jump off and I got caught and I fell."

If you ask Edmonson why he did it, he'll tell you he was clear-headed and wanted an adrenaline rush.

"He wasn't intoxicated," Roscoe Bendtensen, a friend of Edmonson who was walking home with him after a night out before the accident, recalled. "I wasn't worried about him when he jumped the train. I was like, 'Oh, he made it. Cool! I'll see him when I get to the house."

Shortly thereafter, Bendtensen realized his friend would not be house-bound for a long time.

"All of a sudden, I hear somebody yelling," he remembered.

It was early on the morning of Feb. 1 when Edmonson made his life-changing move on Nicollet Island.

"I don't know much other than that the next thing I knew, I was being dragged by a train, headed toward the bridge by the river," Edmondson said.

Edmonson said he realized his leg had been severed when he reached down to feel it, and he tried to use his belt as a tourniquet.

"Soon as I saw that, I thought to myself, 'If he could stand up, he would," Bendtensen said. "I had my phone out of my pocket and was already calling 911 as I was running down."

Officers arrived, applied their tourniquets and rushed Edmonson to HCMC. In retrospect, he concedes the decision was bad one, but even though it left him disabled, he doesn't believe it's anything to be ashamed of.

"What I did was stupid. If I could take it back, I would," he said. "I can't. That's a really hard realization. I feel like everybody feels like that about something in their lives.

Yet, the drummer, fire poi spinner and former personal care assistant told Fox 9 News he feels equipped to cope.

"For years, my career was about empowering people with disabilities," he said. "Then, I wake up one day and realize I am one -- I am disabled."

Edmonson said his attitude is this: Sure, he's lost two limbs but didn't lose his life; although, he will miss swimming.

"I realized the other day, I'm not going to be able to do flip turns because I can't push off the wall," he lamented.

Even so, he doesn't anticipate the loss will slow him down too much. The 30-year-old still plans to run a triathlon.

"I'm not going to let that take away my joy of swimming or drumming or biking, running," he vowed. "That's why I want to do the triathlon. How I'll feel when I cross the finish line? That will be a good day."

Edmonson also wants to turn his traumatic experience into something positive for others. In an effort to give back to help others, he is organizing a benefit concert with the help of some friends. The proceeds will go toward Limbs for Life.

"Once I have prosthetic legs, even though I can't put my toes in the sand, I will start feeling much more normal," he said.

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