ORLANDO (CBSMiami) – Max Rohn is on a mission to reclaim his title atop the Invictus medal stand in discus and shot put.
That’s a high bar, considering he wasn’t always much of an athlete.
“Were you a high school athlete?” a reporter asked him.
“I would say that I was a bad high school athlete. I went to track and field at the first four year games. My coach always says you can’t teach tall so I was the perfect fit for throwing,” he responded.
Though he once lacked the prowess on the playing field, he set out for a career on the battlefield, training Iraqi police forces.
In January of 2009, he was seriously wounded by an insurgent-thrown grenade.
He spent the next four years as a patient at Walter Reed where he received his purple heart, met President Obama and endured 14 surgeries to save his leg, before requesting a 15th to remove it.
“How hard was that decision?” he was asked.
“It wasn’t very hard for me. I knew it right away because where I am at Bethesda, there’s a lot of traffic,” he said. “Most people going through limb salvage do not have good quality of life. You can either keep your limb and be in pain and you can’t ever do what you wanted to do in life or you can get the amputation and get your life back.”
The first step to getting his life back meant hitting the gym.
Within a year he entered the Warrior Games – a competition among U.S. military personnel who endured injury.
Prince Harry was there too.
The Warrior Games inspired him to create the internationally focused Invictus games in 2014.
The United States is playing host to the 2016 games – Orlando to be exact.
Rohn spends 20 hours a week training and says he is in the best shape of his life.
“I’m a far better person after this life experience. Things go wrong, stuff happens,” he said. “It’s what you do internally to deal with those problems. And I’m a stronger person for it, at the end of the day.”
CBS4’s Ted Scouten is going up to Central Florida for the Invictus Games. Look for his live reports starting Sunday, right here on CBSMiami.