For all those in need of some inspiration, look no further than Christopher Melendez, a war vet amputee turned professional wrestler.
Melendez, a native New Yorker, enlisted in the Army following the 9/11 attacks. "I felt like someone brought the fight to my front door, to my home, and I wanted to stand for my country- and my city," Melendez said of his decision to join the Army.
While he was serving in Baghdad, an IED hit and Melendez quickly realized he was missing his leg. "It keeps clearing and then I see that nothing is attached to this leg, and then I made a connection…‘Wow, that’s somebody’s leg! What’s going on?’ And I feel around and then I realize…it’s mine and it’s not there, and that’s when it started to set in….’Wow, I’m in trouble here,’" he explained.
But only 40 days after the injury, Melendez was standing- this time on his prosthetic leg and was soon training to become a professional wrestler. "I like to credit it to the fact that I am a New Yorker and I don’t waste a lot of time and I have to hurry up. You've got to find the silver lining always and turn adversity into opportunity," he said of his resilient, dogged spirit to continue training and fighting.
In addition becoming a father, Melendez signed a multi-year deal with the second largest pro-wrestling group in the world- TNA. Melendez has much to proud of – he taped his first matches in Manhattan this week and is the first ever amputee war veteran in wrestling. "If you have something that you think is debilitating, you have to realize that you may only be holding yourself back and I want to help people realize their own potential," he said. He will debut on television this coming 9/11.