Triple amputee veteran plays in 72nd amputee, adaptive championship

Nick Kimmel Triple Amputee Golfer
Posted at 4:06 PM, Oct 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 11:49:21-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — For triple-amputee Nick Kimmel, he's always had a military mindset to push forward.

"Sometimes, it's a little bit hard to get past mentally, being a grown adult and having someone help you with a lot of everyday things that people take for granted," said Kimmel.

Kimmel was a combat engineer in the United States Marine Corps in Afghanistan. In December 2011 his life changed forever.

"We were building a patrol base. I jumped off a forklift and landed on 40 pounds of homemade explosive," said Kimmel. "And that took both my legs and my left arm above the elbow, like right away."

Kimmel found himself on the road to recovery shortly after.

"The first month of my injury, I was in Walter Reed in Bethesda, Maryland. I had surgery like every other day. That was for the month of December. And then I moved out to San Diego and did all my rehab out there. I spent about a year doing rehab, like two-a-days."

In 2018, a procedure called osseointegration was introduced. It was an opportunity that Kimmel couldn’t pass up.

"I had these rods implanted in my bones. So, my prospects just clamp on the end. Now, instead of supporting all my weight with my soft tissue, which is what you do in a socket, now, I'm supporting my weight with my skeletal system again," he explained.

It was a surgery that changed his whole life, helping him find his way back to a sport he first loved.

"I've actually been playing golf for more than 20 years since I was a little kid. I didn't pick up a golf club until 2015. Then two of my buddies I grew up with both joined the marine corps with me, they took me out, I think was Veterans Day. We went and played, and I was hooked again," said Kimmel.

He now travels across the county competing in a number of golf tournaments. It’s led him to the 72nd National Amputee and Adaptive Championship in Las Vegas.

"This is the only time I get to golf with anyone else who is even close to my situation because when I golf at home," he said. "There’s not a single golfer who is disabled or adaptive so coming out here and having a bunch of people all in one area is really neat to hear other people’s stories."