You don’t need to have both arms to live an outstanding life, and Logan Aldridge almost prefers it this way now. “I love being different,” says the 27-year-old. “I love being the guy with one arm.”
Life changed forever for Aldridge at age 13 after a day wakeboarding on Lake Gaston on the North Carolina-Virginia border. Helping his dad on the family boat, the duo was pushing off from a friend’s dock and heading back home when a rope he was coiling got tangled in the propeller. Within an instant, it severed through the skin and arteries in his left arm, right up to the bone. Blood was everywhere, he recalled. His Dad, springing into action, created a tourniquet of sorts that kept him from bleeding out until the emergency teams arrived. In the ambulance, Aldridge’s mother said something that would shape his perspective for years to come.
“I remember laying there and looking at my arm, looking at everyone around me, and asking my mom what if I lose my arm from this?” he told MensHealth.com. “Without skipping a beat, she said, ‘Logan, it’s just an arm.’ Some people think that’s a brutal parental response, but that was the most important thing to hear. It instilled the perception in me that at the end of the day, I’d still have my life. Whatever happens, we’re going to make it through this.”
Logan’s mom gave him the tough-love advice that inspired him to face his new reality head-on: “without skipping a beat, she said, Logan, it’s just an arm.”
Standing in the hospital bathroom, tears streamed down his face seeing the shape of his new body in the mirror. But that was the last time that the Raleigh native would grieve his loss, something wise beyond his years at such a young age.
“I knew I had to move forward,” he says. “I immediately went into problem solving mode, started to learn how to write with my right hand, make the best of a less-than-ideal situation, and embrace my situation.”
Today, Aldridge is an accomplished para-athlete and has fully embraced life with a handicap. As someone who is “in pursuit of more potential and maximizing [my] output,” he craves comfort that allows him to push his personal and physical boundaries. To that end, he turns to the reliable ease and durability of cotton in and out of his WODs. “I’m training all the time and like to be comfortable.”
Similarly, his go-to sweaty habit, CrossFit, continually pushes him to be better and prepares him for his other active passions, from mountain biking to Spartan Racing. “We learn so much about ourselves when we are challenged,” he says. “When I’m breathless and working hard and in an uncomfortable state, that’s when I grow.” Pressing on with determination and grit has led Aldridge to set some impressive weight-lifting PRs—like deadlifting 500 lbs and doing 245-lb. cleans.
“We learn so much about ourselves when we are challenged.”
When he’s not traveling for his full-time job as a sales manager or teaching CrossFit, Aldridge is speaking to large groups about the lessons he’s learned (and also: training to one day compete in the Paralympics).
“My life’s purpose now is to motivate others,” he says. “We hear inspiration a lot, especially in the case of active amputees. Inspiring is cool—and I’m grateful to do that—but motivation is different that inspiring. You can be inspired sitting on the coach, but when you’re motivated—you’re ready to take action and still change. Something has happened that’s made you ready to move. And I say hey, let’s move together.”