After my amputation I had to continue six more months of chemo. Once my chemo treatments were completed, I then had to learn my new life of being an amputee. I got fitted for my prosthesis and basically had to learn how to walk all over again.
It was a very tough and frustrating process.
My whole goal and drive of getting through cancer was to get back to sports—my love. Putting on my prosthesis for the first time and trying to walk for the first time, it was an eye opener to see just how hard this was going to be.
I couldn’t walk. I had to do months of rehab to get my strength back and learn how to walk without any devices. When I returned to high school (the second semester of my sophomore year) another reality set in: I had lost many friends due to what all I had been through. No one saw me as Scott. I was only known as “that kid who had cancer” or, “the kid with one leg.” I was very isolated in high school, and the only thing that kept me going was sports I was determined to get back to playing.
When basketball season rolled around my junior year, I decided to start basketball offseason. The first practice, I sat on a bench quietly while all the other kids socialized and changed into their basketball gear. I was ashamed and embarrassed to show my leg. When all the kids finally left the locker room, I then changed to my basketball gear. Even after I was changed and ready to practice, I still stayed seated in the locker room; I was scared to show my leg in front of my peers. Coach finally came and talked me into going out on the court. I did not practice, but instead hid behind a table so that my leg couldn’t be seen.
Knowing I wasn’t physically ready to play basketball and still burdened with self-esteem issues from being an amputee, I decided to get out of basketball offseason and enter into baseball offseason. This was where I gained confidence. Baseball is a sport where I could hide my leg in a sense and play a position like pitcher, where it didn’t require me to move around a whole lot. I had some bad games but I had some really good games—meaning that I stacked up nine and 11 strikeouts in a couple games. When baseball and high school were over, I became very depressed and lost because the reality of not playing college sports—something I dreamed about as a kid—was simply not going to happen.
With a burning desire to still be that athlete I always wanted to be, I asked around about amputee sports. I was immediately directed to the Paralympics. I met with a prosthetic company about possibly wanting to train for the Paralympics. Talks escalated quickly and it got to the point where the company signed me to a four-year deal without ever even seeing me run. I was given a free prosthesis, clothing and other perks.
A month into training, I knew this was not in my heart. I gave back the running leg and was honest with them—I let them know that this was not me, it wasn’t in my heart to do this. They were understanding.