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Iraq veteran, triple amputee inspires crowd at MSU

By Grace Ditzler, KTVM Reporter, gditzler@ktvm.com
Published On: Mar 26 2014 10:53:03 PM MDT
Updated On: Mar 26 2014 11:03:19 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Bryan Anderson has survived the odds, being one of only a few triple amputees to make it back from Iraq alive.

In October of 2005, an IED explosion left him without both his legs and left hand.

"And that really kind of forced me to live in the moment, focus on what was in front of me," Anderson told a crowd of a few hundred at Montana State University on Wednesday. He shared his story, and what life is like now.

Anderson spent 13 months in rehab before returning home, and says the hardest part of his recovery was the fear of the unknown.

"Getting past the fact that you don't know what's going to happen in the next few months or next year after rehab, but you just kind of have to go through it," he said.

But he said he isn't letting what happened to him ruin his life. Instead, it has driven the former gymnast to overcome his physical challenges and keep doing all the things he loves.

"Figuring out a different way of doing it, just because it's different doesn’t necessarily make it any harder. The more you do it, the easier it comes," he said.

Since his accident, Anderson has become a stunt man, actor, public speaker, spokesperson for a wheelchair company, and author of his book 'No Turning Back.'

"The book is really about life and the experiences that I've had and realizations I've come to," Anderson explained.

And though his life is very different, Anderson said he continues to make the most of what he has.

We asked, "What are some things that you still struggle with?" "I don't," Anderson said, "I don't struggle."

Anderson said that day was the just beginning of his story, and he hoped to inspire the crowd at MSU to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves, as he has done in his life.

"Hopefully help inspire people and get them to look at things a little differently like their perspective," he explained. "Everything in this world is pretty much how you perceive it and how you think of it."