Wounded warrior comes to north country to snowboard for first time

Published: Apr. 5, 2023 at 5:31 PM EDT
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TOWN OF WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - An Army reservist who lost both legs after being deployed from Fort McCoy in Wisconsin to Afghanistan more than a decade ago came to the north country recently to try snowboarding for the first time since his injury.

Twelve years ago, JP Lane lost both of his legs in Afghanistan.

Once he got special prosthetic legs for snowboarding, Lane reached out to his friend, Ron Newman, who is stationed at Fort Drum, and asked him to help.

“It felt like to learn from the very beginning - gliding down the small slopes, the small hills,” said Lane.

“Strap him into that snowboard and make a memory means the world to me,” said Newman.

In Afghanistan, Lane’s job was to find and clear IEDs or improvised explosive devices. In July 2011, his truck hit an IED, and his life changed.

“When that explosion happened, it went straight through the truck, taking off both of my legs immediately. My left femur snapped in half completely. My pelvis snapped in half,” said Lane.

Lane suffered severe internal injuries too and was left with only his heart and his left lung.

“Twenty-eight surgeries later, a month and a half in a comma, I wake up and life changes forever,” he said.

Lane says recovering has been difficult and wouldn’t have been able to do it without the love and support of those around him like his wife, Crystal.

“We work together; we’re together 24/7. He’s like my best friend. We say I’m the legs of the family because we just keep each other going,” she said.

Even though it was painful learning how to walk in prosthetics, Lane says this journey has made him stronger, and being able to be on the slopes as spring weather hits helps.

“This is just the start of what I feel is going to be something that will be so therapeutic, but at the same time to get back and do what I thought was taken from me,” he said.