Minnesota man up-and-running on prosthetic after railroad accide - KMSP-TV

Minnesota man up-and-running on prosthetic after railroad accident

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

Fox 9 News cameras caught a first on Thursday -- a Minnesota man learning to run again with his brand new prosthetic leg after a workplace accident left him facing life as an amputee.

His name sounds quite similar to his favorite Minnesota Vikings player, and Adrian Petersen told Fox 9 News he has always loved to play football. Unfortunately, his walking prosthetic keeps the man friends know as "AP" from running around with his brothers.

"It gets difficult at times -- stressful -- just because you are not able to do what you want to do," Petersen admitted. "Takes away from who you are as a person."

Petersen was working for a steel company and was loading sheet metal on a rail cart in 2011 when his life changed.

"I looked down and realized the cart was probably about 2 inches away from crushing me," he recalled. "So, I jumped as high as I could, and it pinned me up against the coil behind me and shattered my whole right leg."

Remarkably, as Petersen was sitting in the hospital, the Vikings' MVP Adrian Peterson also tore his ACL. In the months that followed, the running back's recovery would inspire another AP to recover and get back to running one day.

"Just shows you can push and strive yourself and do bigger and better things every time you step out," Petersen reflected.

Yet, even though Petersen was able to live his life with his walking prosthetic, he found he still missed his freedom.

"To see other people being able to run, and I'm stuck in one spot -- it was a bummer," he said.

So, he decided he would never give up on his dream to run again. That's when Todd Westlake, owner of Westlake Orthotics and Prosthetics, came into the picture. He told Fox 9 News that it is a challenge to get insurance companies to pay for running prosthetics, but he went to bat for the 24-year-old.

"This is the first one I've been able to get approved," Westlake told Fox 9 News.

On Thursday at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, Petersen got a chance to try out his running prosthetic for the first time.

"Feel free!" he exclaimed. "You do everything you used to be able to do. Everything is open and not stuck in one area. It's amazing."

Petersen described the experience as a dream come true, and said he believes the loss of his leg has made him a better person because he no longer worries about little, negative things anymore. Instead, he says he keeps his head up and strives for greatness. In fact, he plans to run a 5K in the near future.

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