An inspiring strongman who lost his leg in a horrific motorbike accident fought back from the brink of death to become a record breaker.
Darren Greenfield (UK) was clinically dead for six minutes after the horror smash. But 33 years on, he’s the proud holder of the heaviest log lift (male) – LA1 title after lifting an incredible 95 kg (209.43 lbs) above his head.
He was just 18 years old when he hit a manhole cover while riding his motorcycle on a rainy day and skidded across the road.
His left leg was ripped from his body, and he had to be brought back to life by paramedics twice.
The LA1 in Darren’s record title refers to our impairment classifications, which make reasonable adjustments to records so they’re open to anyone and everyone.
This weekend marks International Day of Disabled Persons, which aims to increase awareness of the rights and well-being of people with disabilities.
Darren was going just 30 mph when he suffered his life-altering injuries.
And things were so severe that his parents were told he’d have brain damage “if he survived”.
But he defied all the odds – something he’s continuing to do to this very day.
Looking back on that fateful day, he told us: “It had been hailing and raining in the morning, I hit a manhole cover in the road, then the bike slipped and my leg was underneath the bike.
“A lorry was coming the other way and it pinned me down on the road and dragged me 30 yards.
“My leg literally came off on the scene. I broke three bones in my right leg and I was clinically dead for six minutes. It was for three minutes, then I was revived and I went again for another three minutes in the ambulance.”
Darren was incredibly active before his accident. He enjoyed running, boxing and playing rugby, and was even training for his first ever amateur boxing fight – something that would sadly never happen.
Determined not to let what happened to him define his future, Darren fought his way back to health.
“I’m 52 years old and I feel as strong and healthy now as I did when I was 30 years old,” he said.
"I was a fitness fanatic before I lost my leg - it never held me back.
Basically, I went from being a person with two legs to being the same person, just with one leg.
“I was in the bed playing with dumbbells while I was in the hospital! I’m always up for challenges.”
So how did he become a record-breaking strongman?
Darren was out to beat the record of 91 kg (200.621 lbs) for a standing log press performed by someone with an above-the-knee amputation.
“The log press is three different movements: a dead lift, drive the log to your chest, then the press,” he explained.
Darren first attempted to claim the record by lifting 100 kg (220.462 lbs) at the UK’s Strongest Man contest in Nottingham, UK, in front of a huge crowd.
But despite all his preparation and training, the moment got the better of him and he couldn’t press the log up from his chest.
Looking back on it, he said: “The crowd was just another level.”
He added: “I think the moment just got the better of me. I cleaned it to my chest and as I was pressing it, I just went lightheaded and that was it, so I just put it down and I struggled with a bit of balance issues with the leg.”
Although he didn’t clinch a world record at the event, Darren was pleased with what he’d achieved in spreading the word for disabled strongmen.
Yeah I didn’t get the lift, but if being here today has got disabled strongman awareness out there then I’ve come away with one result, even if I didn’t get the world record.
Determined not to give up on his dream, Darren added: “We’ve got one to settle, so I’ll be back for that.”
And four weeks later, Darren was back to attempt the record once more thanks to the support from his strongman community and his loving wife.
Watched by Guinness World Records Adjudicator David Wilson at a gym in Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK, Darren successfully lifted a whopping 95 kg (209.43 lbs).
“A lot goes through my head before a lift,” Darren said. “It’s a personal goal to leave a legacy for my family – my kids, my grandkids.”
After lifting the weight above his head, Darren slammed it back down before celebrating.
A lift like this is all the more difficult for Darren because of his amputation.
He explained that after performing the deadlift, you need to squat before using the power of your legs to drive the log up to your chest.
But because his amputation is so high, he can’t squat and instead needs to use momentum to get the log up to his chest.
Darren certainly hasn’t let his accident hold him back or stop him taking part in the sports he’s always loved.
He was even lined up to represent Team GB in the wheelchair basketball team at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London and canoeing at Rio 2016, but unfortunately didn’t get to compete at either due to various reasons.
It was then that he moved away from those sports and became a strongman.
He first got involved in Disabled Strongman events in 2017 and has competed around the world ever since, picking up many victories along the way.
And when it comes to his Guinness World Records title, Darren assures us that if someone beats it, he’ll be back to try it again.
Whatever happens, Darren has certainly made his mark on the world.
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