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Utah Adaptive Sports Day equips amputees to hit the lake

Posted at 10:52 AM, Sep 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-09 20:48:44-04

HEBER CITY- Sixteen amputees took on water sports at the first ever Utah Adaptive Sports Day at Jordanelle Reservoir Saturday.

Like many amputees, Jeff Soelberg never imagined he would be able to do the things he loved again, like kayaking.

Soelberg lost three fingers working at a refinery in Salt Lake City when his glove got caught in a piece of rotation equipment.

He remembers the thoughts that raced through his brain.

“Laying in the hospital when you're the breadwinner, you have three kids, and not knowing what the future will hold: That’s very scary," he said.

But Soelberg’s accident only motivated him to live harder and stronger.

“Life wasn’t’ over… there is a big future ahead,” he said.

Soelberg found his future at Hanger Clinic and is working on his own foundation. He urges others with physical disabilities to stay active.

“Just because we have a challenge doesn’t mean that it’s a life sentence to sitting on the couch,” he said.

Wendy Remington is a prosthetist and orthotist at Hanger Clinic, and she said she's thrilled to host the first Utah Adaptive Water Sports Day.

“These types of activities are very important to our patients," she said. "It opens ups new opportunities and doors that they might not have realized were open to them."

David Egbert lost his leg to sepsis, a life-threatening illness. He said he wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for those who challenge him.

“There are many things that I will never do again, but there are things I will do again: like today, I got up on a ski, a water ski," he said.

Holding back tears, Egbert thanked the organization.

“It’s the people who have influenced me through this trial, and that’s why I’m here today: because of the people," he said.

Hanger Clinic has already started brainstorming ideas for their winter mountain activities.