Amputee builds himself one-of-a-kind prosthetic ice skate

Amputee builds himself one-of-a-kind prosthetic ice skate
Adam Griggel

A local athlete who lost his leg finds a way to keep moving with one-of-a-kind prosthetic legs.

“You’ve got about a 0 percent chance to live.”

That’s what doctors told Adam Griggel after being hospitalized for meningitis.

At 19, he was put on every antibiotic they could. He was in a coma and virtually non-functioning for days.

“I woke up, and they said I was no longer sick with meningitis, but it was all of the damage,” Griggel said. “I equate it to turning your blood into termites and it eats you from the inside out.”

Doctors suggested he should remove his right leg, making a once avid athlete an amputee.

“I grew up playing sports, and just always liked to be active,” Griggel said. “And every time someone says I can’t do something, I want to find a way to do it.”

With that and the help of his prosthetic doctors, Griggel built himself a running leg, a cycling leg and a rollerblading leg.

But he wasn’t stopping there.

“Skating is like, I mean, for someone who loses a limb, anything that allows you to move, it’s kind of freedom,” Griggel said.

Griggel turned to Gregory Standard at Weidenbeck Incorporated.

“They were all his ideas, I just had to figure out how to make it work,” Standard said.

Standard usually spends his days manufacturing metal brackets and boxes, so the idea of creating something new to help someone else was a welcome one.

“Never made a blade for a skate, so this is a first,” Standard said.

Using his tools at the shop, Standard cut out a custom blade that fit right into the fixture that can hold Griggel’s roller blade wheels. But it’s not the ingenuity that most inspires Standard to help.

“He’s ready to just grab a hold of life, you know. He’s actually kind of inspired me to try to do a little more,” Standard said.

Griggel believes his skate is a one-of-a-kind invention. A company actually donated a top-of-the-line left foot ice skate to Griggel to help fulfill his dream of getting back on the ice. Now, he hopes his creation can help or influence other amputees.

“To me, it’s not anything that holds me back. It’s something that just actually makes me a better person, I think,” Griggel said.

Even on the ice, Griggel wears shorts. It’s his way of inviting questions about his leg and his experiences.

“I find it more rude when a parent shuts a kid’s curiosity down,” Griggel said. “If a kid is curious about it and has the confidence to ask, let them ask. They might learn something, and it teaches them there’s nothing wrong with asking a question and wanting to learn something.”

Griggel’s next adventure? A prosthetic that allows him to snowboard. In the meantime, he said he’ll enjoy the activities he can now do with his son.

“I’m proud of just the fact that I’m willing to try and I don’t let anything hold me back,” Griggel said.