Critically Wounded Soldier Plans To Run A Marathon

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Jan. 18, 2011

His recovery was nothing short of amazing.

Last May, Army Sergeant John Ricketts’ legs were badly shattered in an explosion in Afghanistan. This Sunday, he’s heading to the Naval Medical Center in San Diego where he will undergo the amputation of both of his lower legs. At the center, he will also learn how to walk and run again with artificial legs.

“I feel lucky to still have good hips and good knees,” he admits.

With his new prosthetics, Ricketts hopes to run a marathon. According to an article on Arizonal, many wounded veterans are requesting amputation, because of recent advances in prosthetic limb technology.

“Patients now often request amputation because of trauma to their limbs and sheer pain issues,” said Anthony Flanagan, the head of the prosthetics program at the Phoenix, Arizona VA Health Care System. “People who undergo below-the-knee amputation now can return to a normal life. Artificial legs now have microprocessors and other features that allow people to run and do everything they could do before.”

Besides his leg injuries, Ricketts also suffered brain trauma from the explosion. Doctors were amazed at how quickly he recovered from his severe injuries. “So many people have been praying for me, I have healed so much faster than anyone expected,” recalls Ricketts. “I may not do the marathon for a few years, but it is my goal.”

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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