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'Snowboarding gave me a purpose': Georgia athlete heading to Paralympics after overcoming tragic accident

Garrett Geros is one of the best in the world, and he's only been doing the sport for four years.

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. — Every time Garrett Geros sees the race course, he's reminded of the unlikely paths life can take you. The 22-year-old snowboarder is one of the best in the world, and he's only been doing the sport for four years.

Geros grew up Cartersville, a town with about 20,000 people where the sight of snow was almost unheard of. When he was 5 years old, his dad even took him a few ski trips where he would experience snow for the first time. However, Geros said it was not an instant hit, remarking "I hated it."

Yet, the young athlete loved being active. He surfed, skim boarded and was a natural on a skateboard, among many other sports at Cartersville High School.

"I grew up as an athlete," he told 11Alive. "Dad was coach - baseball, football, poll vaulter, wrestling was my favorite."

However, Geros' live would change forever on one terrifying drive.

At 16 years old, he got into a car accident, where the vehicle wrapped around a tree. Once Geros was pried from what was left of the wreckage, he was life-flighted to Grady Hospital, where his family wasn't sure he'd even make it.

Credit: Garrett Geros

"There is no way I should have lived through that," he said years later.

Surgeons amputated Geros' leg below the knee, yet the 16-year-old didn't know how to take it. He said he didn't walk for nine months, having to completely relearn.

"It make me angry inside and I got depressed about it," he explained.

It would ultimately be a search of the Paralympics website that would spark some much needed inspiration.

"Without snowboarding, I don't know where my life would be," he remarked. "Snowboarding gave me a purpose."

Geros trains in Colorado, where he's mastered snowboard cross racing, going more than 50 miles an hour on a carbon fiber foot.

Now, Cartersville is home to a first-time Paralympian who's sharing a message much bigger than sport.

"Just because bad things happen, it may be a bad moment but it can turn into something great," Geros added.

He will be part of Opening Ceremony this weekend. From there, Geros will be competing in qualifiers on March 5 and, if he makes it, the final heats are on March 6. 

   

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