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Marine Vet Loses Limbs to Explosive, Throws Out 1st Pitch After Double Arm Transplant

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In 2011, Eidos Montreal published a hit video game called “Deus Ex: Human Revolution.” A science fiction title, it featured a shades-wearing cyborg, a man who was part flesh and blood, part machine.

The title opens with the main character, a security expert named Adam Jensen, losing his limbs in a terrorist attack. But science gives them back to him in the form of hyper-advanced prostheses.

“I never asked for this,” he grimly intones at one point. Naturally, no one wants to suffer grievous bodily harm.

In real life, though, numerous soldiers have faced the same sad situation, and they’ve done so without Jensen’s down-in-the-mouth demeanor. And while none have yet received amazingly advanced prosthetics, at least one warrior has gotten something better: an actual arm transplant.

Marine Sgt. John Peck was serving in Afghanistan in 2010 when he experienced a soldier’s worst nightmare: He stepped on an improvised explosive device.

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When the smoke cleared, three of Peck’s limbs were severed clean away. Doctors had to amputate what remained of his left arm.


While recovering in Walter Reed Hospital, he discovered that at least one successful limb transplant had already occurred. He contacted Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, telling them he wanted a transplant.

“I am unwilling to accept this until the day I die,” he told The Washington Post. “My goal is to do arm transplants, do some traveling, learn different types of food, take like cooking courses across seas, like Tokyo, China.”

Peck passed the hospital’s tests, and then the hard part started: the waiting. It took years for proper donor limbs to become available.

But in 2016, they did. After a 13-hour surgery, Peck had two new arms.

Don’t think, though, that the transplants just magically started working. Peck has persevered in intense physical therapy, and even two years later, no one quite knows how well his arms will eventually work.

“It’s like, ‘Hey, we can try this and it might work,’” he told USA Today. “But functionality is matter of perspective.”

Peck can do basic tasks for himself such as shower, drive, dress and, yes, cook. And that’s not all he can do.

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Every year, the Rockland Boulders baseball team holds a military appreciation night. So Marine veteran Barry Fixler flew Peck and his wife to Pomona, New York, so that Peck could throw out the first pitch.


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And that was exactly what Peck did. He heaved the ball across the plate with an underhand toss.

“He’s a war hero, he’s my hero, and I’d like to share him with 5,000 people,” Fixler said. “He is a gift, a breath of fresh air, no complaints.

“When I speak to him on the phone he’s just another fella. … There’s no animosity, there’s no feeling sorry.”

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
Education
Wheaton College
Location
Florida
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Entertainment, Faith, Travel




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