Living an active lifestyle with an amputated leg may seem impossible for some, but it was never a question for this Indiana firefighter.
Lt. Brandon Anderson, 42, has returned to full duty with the Fishers Fire Department after losing his right leg in a horrific motorcycle crash two years ago.
"There’s been no modifications made for me to be able to do the job," Anderson told InsideEdition.com. "It wasn’t like I had to learn how to do the job of a firefighter again. I just learn how to do it in a new way."
Anderson explained he started working as a firefighter about 16 years ago after a career in construction. The profession always called to him, he said, as someone who loved helping others and someone who loved an active, ever-changing day-to-day.
But his life was turned upside down in 2016 when, while on a motorcycle ride with a group of friends on a trip to the lake for the weekend, a truck turned into his lane and collided with his bike.
"I pretty much remember the whole… you know, the whole day," he said. "I was awake and alert the entire time of the accident."
Luckily, one of his friends on the trip was a police officer, and knew to stay calm and tend to Anderson as they waited for an ambulance to arrive.
"He could tell my leg was badly damaged. He instructed me to stop moving and extracted the bike off me," Anderson recalled. "He’s dealt with scenes like this, but I would hate to be in his shoes that day to have to tend to your friend."
They eventually transported him by helicopter to the hospital, and for the next several weeks, Anderson underwent several surgeries before eventually losing his leg to infection.
"You have that thought of having everything you know in life ripped from you," he said. "As time passed, I was ready to fight. I was not willing to walk away from a 15-year career of the job that I love to do."
After being fitted for a prosthetic, Anderson said he began reaching out to others living active lifestyles after amputation, including another firefighter in California who had a below-the-knee amputation.
He then began an aggressive regimen of physical therapy, and about two months after his amputation, he was walking again.
"When I first started, I had to look down and watch every step I took," Anderson said. “Now I can walk like everyone else. I can go upstairs, I can go downstairs, I can move on uneven ground."
Thanks to the support of his fellow firefighters, he even passed their annual physical agility test with flying colors, allowing him to become one of the first firefighters in the United States with an above-the-knee amputation.
“I had the backing of all the guys in my department that was willing to work with me and train me," Anderson said. "It's just been an amazing journey to be able to take what was such a tragedy that day and what having life as you know it ripped from you in moments, and be able to battle that back and do something that really hadn't been done before."