By Walt Johnson (Fort Carson)March 21, 2013
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Jerrod Fields went to support the nation with two healthy legs in 2005. While in Iraq, he sustained an injury that would claim his left leg and introduce him to a new path in life.
"When the injury happened, the first thing I thought was my life has changed," Fields said.
"I didn't feel a lot of pain and I was still able to drive even though I had glass in my goggles and (I) couldn't see things. My platoon sergeant actually guided me. Throughout the process (of) getting out of the firing zone I really didn't feel a lot pain until they cut my boot off. It was like the popping sound you get from opening a can of biscuits, and that was when I started screaming."
Always an athlete, Fields grew up playing basketball, but that fateful day in Iraq changed the type of sports he played. Now, Fields is hoping to help young athletes understand and appreciate the sport of track and field and how it could benefit them as they grow into adulthood.
Fields was medically evacuated out of Iraq and awoke in Germany days later.
Doctors explored options to save his leg, but Fields asked them to amputate. Fields made a promise to himself that he would get back to playing basketball.
"After they took the leg off, I was happy that I had life and that I still had the possibility of playing ball," he said. "I was excited about the new life that I had, and I remembered after coming out of surgery asking when I could start therapy."
As he began his recovery process, Fields adjusted to a new way of life, one he said he had a premonition of before he deployed.
Fields said he had a dream that something was going to happen to him during the deployment and he asked his girlfriend, now wife, if he lost his leg would she still love him.
When his premonition became a reality, she stuck by her word and stood by him, but that was only one part of his rehabilitation process. The toughest part was learning how to live without his leg.
Fields began a rigorous therapy process and three months later, although he experienced a lot
of pain, he was running.
Now an athlete with the Army World Class Athlete Program, Fields said he's looking forward to helping others, particularly children.
"I'm (working with kids) for God," he said. "It's a platform for me to show what he is doing for me. I was never the fastest athlete, but I always knew that if I fell, I got back up. I feel it's an honor that God has chosen me for this mission to help other people. If God gave me the option of growing my leg back, I would only do it if it gives him the glory that he gets now through me. I want kids to know there are always obstacles in life, but there are also ways to overcome those obstacles."