CHEK Upside: Campbell River man overcomes double leg amputation to win para snowboard gold

CHEK Upside: Campbell River man overcomes double leg amputation to win para snowboard gold
WatchAfter a skydiving accident in 2017, Tyler Turner vowed to get his life back through hard work and perseverance.

Tyler Turner has always sought out adventure.

Whether it’s back-country snowboarding or jumping out of a plane.

But in 2017, Turner’s life took a tragic turn after a skydiving accident resulted in the amputation of his right leg.

“I could walk a little bit, but barely,” said Turner. “The swelling after trying to walk was incredible.”

His left leg also suffered major damage and despite efforts to keep the leg intact, Tyler once again went under the knife just over one year later.

“When I was told that I was going to have my second leg amputated I was very excited,” he said.

Turner says he felt excited and relieved knowing he no longer needed to cope with the intense pain in his left leg. He also viewed it as an opportunity to officially start a new journey.

“You can’t put your energy into pushing forward until you accept where you’re at,” said 32-year-old.

Turner decided then he would do whatever it takes to get his life back. He worked tirelessly at rehabilitating his body and learning to walk on prosthetic limbs.

For Turner, however, that was only the beginning. He eventually made it back on the snowboard, surfboard, wakeboard and he’s once again jumping out of planes.

His mother, Tannis Turner, has had a front-row seat through it all.

“From day one he always said he’s not going to give up on his dreams and his goals and what he’s always wanted to do and what he loves to do,” said Turner via Zoom from her home in Vernon.

One of his goals was to compete in snowboarding on the world stage.

Last week, that goal became a reality as Turner captured a World Cup Para Snowboard Cross gold medal in Italy in what was his first-ever event representing Canada.

“I don’t know if I still believe it yet,” said Turner.

It’s a true testament of his will and courage to never give up.

“I’ve been able to snowboard at the absolute top level and I’m back to doing everything I did before,” said Turner, who’s returned to his job as a skydiving instructor.

“I’m so proud at what he’s accomplished,” said Tannis Turner.

Turner says he’s far from done. He also has ambitions in para surfing and aims to represent Canada at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing.

“I feel like this has kind of shown that, alright, I’m back,” he said.

In 2017, Campbell River’s Tyler Turner lost his right left following a skydiving accident. (Photo submitted)

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