Skiing ever since he was a toddler, 15-year-old David Schlicht was nailing aerial ski jumps and accumulating numerous accolades as a young slopestyle skier when a freak accident knocked him off his feet. His story of resilience and recovery was recently featured in UCHealth.
On June 20, 2021, after perfectly executing a jump on the Utah slopes, David landed onto the giant inflatable airbag used by skiers for training in the summer. As he was walking off, the wind picked up and David was violently tossed through the air. As the bag came loose from the anchors, David was lifted off the ground and plummeted 60 feet before impact. He suffered extensive injuries and fractures in both heels and his left ankle, tibia, and fibula. Fracture blisters covered his lower extremities, and he faced a long road to recovery.
After many operations and attempts to restore his right heel from infection, David came to the realization that amputation was the only option for him to continue doing the outdoor activities he loved most. In September 2021, David underwent below-knee amputation of his right foot and returned to his high school in a wheelchair. Transitioning to crutches and then a prosthesis for Christmas allowed David to experience increased mobility and stand up independently for the first time since the accident.
A few months later, David was back on his skis. He even participates in a variety of outdoor activities: archery, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, water skiing, hiking, and dirt biking. David is also excited to have a new prosthetic BioDapt foot specifically designed for skiing and high-impact sports. “The new ski foot is great!” he exclaimed. “It has been a huge help in improving my skiing. I have also been using it for snowmobiling all winter.” With the help of his new foot, the now-17-year-old has more control on the slopes because the technology efficiently absorbs bumps and jumps through the toe and heel. David’s story is one of triumph over adversity, and he is looking forward to seeing just how far his aspirations will take him.