This Vet Lost His Leg To An IED. Since Then, He’s Completed 26 Marathons

Health & Fitness
Screenshot via Yahoo Video

When the Twin Towers fell on Sept.11, 2001, Freddie De Los Santos fulfilled a childhood goal of joining the Army.

But on Oct. 20, 2008, while working in Afghanistan with U.S. Special Operations Command as a Humvee gunner, an improvised explosive device tore through his right leg. He smashed  headfirst into the ground and lost his teeth in the blast that immediately followed. To make matters worse, De Los Santos was also shot twice, The New York Times reported.

But he’s come a long way since then.

Related: How The Military Community Helped A Survivor Of The Boston Marathon Bombing »

De Los Santos woke up weeks after the explosion at Walter Reed National Medical Center.

“I had suicidal thoughts. I just wanted to end my life because I was not the same. It used to break my heart every time my kids used to see me,” he told Katie Couric in an interview for Yahoo News.

Though De Los Santos suffered months of psychological trauma, he found solace by competing in marathons. After getting involved with Achilles International, a group of injured veterans that performs in mainstream races, De Los Santos has gone from an amputee to competitive athlete.

In fact, De Los Santos has completed 26 marathons — nearly 682 miles — with just one leg through the use of handcycles.

Now, he is training to make the Paralympic team in Rio.

De Los Santos added, “I will be so excited to go to Rio, not just because it’s Rio, but also because I will be able to look back and say, ‘Wow, this is how far I have come since the day I got injured.’ That will be the greatest achievement ever.”

See De Los Santos’ incredible journey here.

Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

Take $75 off a Casper Mattress and $150 off a Wave Mattress with code TASKANDPURPOSE

And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

Read More Show Less
Capt. Jonathan Turnbull. (U.S. Army)

A soldier remains in serious condition after being injured in the deadly ISIS bombing that killed two other U.S. service members, a DoD civilian, and a defense contractor in Syria last week, Stars and Stripes reports.

Read More Show Less
(DoD photo)

A U.S. service member was killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday, Resolute Support announced.

Read More Show Less

It took four years for the Army to finally start fielding the much-hyped Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, and it took soldiers less than four days to destroy one.

Read More Show Less

The Supreme Court reportedly has allowed the Pentagon's ban on transgender service members to take effect amid ongoing legal challenges.

The ruling should prevent the U.S. military from recruiting transgender men and women, but it does not mean that transgender service members currently serving will be separated, said Andy Blevins, a Navy veteran and executive director of OutServe SLDN, which has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the transgender ban.

Read More Show Less