Brad Hurtig lost his hands, but learned lifelong lesson


Brad Hurtig was a linebacker for Fairview High School and was known for his athleticism, but an accident in the summer of his sophomore year caused his hands to be amputated.

He trained hard after he recovered from four surgeries, and during his senior year at the school in Sherwood, Ohio, he had 111 recorded tackles and received state honors.

Hurtig urged Hubbard High School students Thursday morning to find a way to achieve goals and overcome adversity.

“If you want something bad enough, you’ll fight for it. You’ll quit making excuses and make the needed sacrifices,” he said.

Hurtig started the speech with a quick challenge. Six volunteers had to pick up a water bottle and drink using their elbows, knees or pick it up with their mouth – they couldn’t touch it with their hands.

The idea stemmed from an encounter with his football coach after his accident. A water bottle was on the ground, and he asked his coach to give him a drink. His coach’s response changed Hurtig’s life.

“My coach said, ‘If you are thirsty enough, you’ll find a way.’ I thought, was he being a jerk? But he realized something I hadn’t. Using my hands wasn’t my problem – my perception was my problem,” he said. He picked it up with his elbows and squirted the water in his mouth.

Read more of his story in Friday's Vindicator or on

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