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Iraq War Veteran Gives Us More Than A Leg To Stand On

Daniel Jacobs is not dead.

Not even close.

Nine years ago, a roadside bomb in Ramadi, Iraq nearly killed him.

Few expected he’d survive the flight home.

Fewer—maybe nobody but himself—expected he’d ever walk again.

This spring, the 29-year-old Navy corpsman was at Joker Marchant Field, in Lakeland, Florida, trying out for the Detroit Tigers.

Jacobs lost his left leg below the knee, the toes on his right foot and three fingers on his left hand when his world exploded on a day that was, for so many people, just another day on a calendar of days.

But he did not lose what really matters—the will to live and to live well, to excel, undiminished by a cruel twist of fate.

Shuffle the calendar forward nine years to a day of days.

There he was last week taking batting practice.

Gloving infield grounders.

Tell Daniel Jacobs that he cannot do something and Daniel Jacobs will do something. Daniel Jacobs will do the very something that he was told he cannot do.

You’ll never survive?

Take another breath of this.

You won’t ever walk again?

Don’t tell those who watched him cross the finish line at the Detroit Half-Marathon, which he ran on a prosthetic after finishing the full Miami Marathon by hand-cycling himself the 26.2 miles.

Daniel Jacobs may not make it to the Major Leagues, but he’s already made it to so much more than that. And by doing so, as his story is told and re-told, he is becoming an inspiration to people across the country and around the world who face similar challenges.

That is a fate he embraces with every fiber of his life. Jacobs told Jason Beck, of MLB.com, that an 84-year-old amputee sent him an email asking about prosthetics because, inspired by Jacobs, he wants to start playing tennis again.

As Jacobs pursues his non-profit activities aimed at pointing veterans toward more vital and productive lives, he is teaching all of us to never give up, to never take ‘you can’t’ as the final answer.

Teaching us to have total faith in ‘I can’ as the only answer.

—JKW—