fighting spirit

After having his leg amputated, this tatted up former Marine won’t let anything stop him

John Edward Heath went viral last year when video showed him landing a one-legged power clean six days after having his leg amputated. Now, he has his sights set on the 2024 Paralympic Games.

Speaking to Outsports’ “The Sports Kiki” podcast this week, the openly gay veteran Marine, who had to undergo 12 surgeries after being struck by a drunk driver in 2016, says losing his leg initially sent him into a downward spiral.

“I fell into a dark, dark hole of alcoholism, and I was doing recreational drugs,” he says. “But one day I woke up, and I was so violent when I was blacking out and drinking, it was like, ‘I need to turn my life around.’”

Heath connected with Run Freely, a charity founded by former ESPN anchor Kenny Mayne that offers financial support to veterans with limb salvage conditions. Through that organization, he was able to afford a prosthetic leg.

From there, he connected with Merging Veterans and Players,  a non-profit founded by NFL FOX reporter Jay Glazer and former NFL player and Green Beret Nate Boyer that assists combat veterans and former NFL players acclimate to life after service and sports.

Heath soon got into CrossFit, weight lifting, and track and field, where he rediscovered not only his love for himself but for health and fitness, in general, as well as educating others.

“I’m the first amputee a lot of pro athletes have ever seen, let alone lifting the amount of weight that I do,” he says. “They don’t know the struggle of what it is being an amputee, and wearing a prosthetic.”

“When I take off my running blade and take off my stump sleeve, and they see a large-scale of skin and blisters, they’re like, ‘Yo, what?’ And I’m like, ‘What?’ And they’re like, ‘How are you training on that?’ It just opened up a whole different conversation.”

In addition to the 2024 Paralympics happening in Paris, Heath says he wants to participate in the 2026 Paralympics, as well as Adaptive CrossFit. Each and every day, he works toward the gold.

“It’s been a journey, and I believe so much in what I’m doing,” he tells The Sports Kiki podcast. “I believe I can make it to 2024, 2026 and make it to the CrossFit games.”

“If it’s wasting energy and it’s not being conducive or productive for my athletic career, then you can go somewhere with that, because I don’t have the time for it.”

Scroll down for more pics from Heath’s Instagram page…

Listen to Heath’s full interview below.