Ian Parkinson has been skateboarding for almost all his life.
“[In] skateboarding, you fall constantly,” said Parkinson. “No skateboarder’s an exception to that.”
Then again, Ian isn’t your average skateboarder. He was enlisted in the army for exactly four years and nine days.
“It was June 6th, 2011,” said Ian.
That’s the day Ian lost both his legs while serving a combat tour in Afghanistan. Ian was preparing his patrol for a run in with Taliban soldiers when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED).
“I hit the ground. I cough. I’m like ‘okay, I can breathe,'” said Ian. “My medic who is right behind me says, ‘Hey, I have a double amputee.’ So just figuring out who’s in between. That’s me.”
Ian lost both legs above the knees instantly. He suffered a fractured pelvis, a concussion, and lost his left tricep.
“I had a month and a half stay in the hospital where I had heavy surgeries,” said Ian. “After that, it was a road of rehabilitation and just the process of learning to walk with prosthetics.”
That was seven years ago. Today he’s back to his favorite hobby and turning heads.
Monday, Ian was Grand Marshall in the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade, an honor fit for a hero.
“I wanted to go to Afghanistan. I wanted to do a combat MOS. It was everything I wanted to do. I got to live everything I [wanted] to do in my life. I got that gift,” said Ian.
The only thing holding Ian back now is gravity.
“It’s not like you have to fall. You’re gonna fall. Having skateboarding eradicates some of that fear. I’m used to falling, and knowing how to fall,” said Ian.