Jody Mitic has a goal this summer: he wants to win The Amazing Race Canada. To do so, he may have to climb the Rockies, swim the Great Lakes and navigate remote parts of the country. It's a lofty quest, considering just six years ago, his goal was to walk.
At age 30, Jody was a sniper for the Canadian Forces and was on duty in Afghanistan.
"We were out patrolling an area west of Kandahar when it happened," recalls Jody. "We were making our way through grape fields when I heard a bang and hit the ground. It took me a second to realize I had stepped on a landmine."
The blast from the explosion amputated Jody's right leg. A secondary device mangled his left, which was later amputated at the airfield hospital. He soon landed at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre where doctors protected his shattered bone with a titanium plate and skin grafts before being transferred to St. John's Rehab to relearn to walk.
"When he arrived he was shell-shocked," says Beth Mahy, physiotherapist at St. John's Rehab. "He had a long road ahead of him, mentally and physically. But he was determined."
Just shy of two-months after his injury, the wounds on Jody's legs had healed enough for them to bear weight. He hauled on his prosthetics. Then, cradled between two parallel bars, he stood, found his balance, and took his first step.
Intensive physiotherapy and occupational therapy helped him graduate from the hospital's flat floor to sidewalks, slopes and stairs. Twelve months later, he was conquering 5-km runs in support of the hospital that helped him get back on his feet.
"We work to get our patients back to their previous level of functioning; to help them reach their goals," says Mahy. "It's Jody's determination that keeps pushing his boundaries. With that, he will always be a winner."
The Amazing Race Canada airs on CTV, Mondays at 9 p.m. ET.
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