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NEWS | March 8, 2024

I don’t know how to spell can’t.

By MaryTherese Griffin Army Recovery Care Program

Retired Army Specialist JP Lane is very open about what happened to him in Afghanistan 13 years ago. “I was blown up by a 200lb bomb while on a mission. It was the first IED to penetrate an RG31 truck.” The blast caused the combat engineer massive trauma and died twice. He started his recovery at the Fort Sam Houston Soldier Recovery Unit.

“I was in a coma for six weeks lost both my legs, broken bones, teeth, and internal injuries too.” He’s been through 28 surgeries. The combat engineer and his wife Crystal travel the country sharing their story to inspire and help others. Along the way on one of those trips a few years ago, JP while performing at the 2022 Warrior Games, as he is a talented musician and singer as well as a speaker, caught the adaptive sports bug.

“The last couple of years of watching the Warrior Games have truly been an inspiration for me to get back into the athletic side of things. For the past decade, I’ve been speaking and singing, and touring. Crystal and I have been touring the last six years and we didn’t get to see the adaptive side of sports very often so when we went to the Warrior Games in Orlando in 2022 that lit a fire in me that just started growing.”

The 34-year-old convinced his wife he could do it. He was athletic before his injuries playing basketball, football, and running track. Now he is at Fort Liberty North Carolina competing to be on the Team he’s been so proud to talk about.

“For the past couple of years I got to brag on my brothers and sisters in arms- the first year in 2022 I got to be an ESPN commentator and I explained who was who and what was what to the sports world. I would let them know this is not just an athlete who’s worked hard to be an athlete. This is someone who has overcome so much more, they’ve broken something and have been through the ups and downs of life.”

Lane wanted that feeling of being on a team again so he and Crystal are at Fort Liberty this week for the 2024 Army Trials where JP is competing in powerlifting, discus indoor row, wheelchair basketball sitting volleyball, and track… yes track as in the 100 meter and 200 meter dash races.
“I will take off my walking legs and put on my running blades and give it all I've got!” said JP.

Crystal says he is beyond determined and is proud of his dedication. “He goes twice a week for track, twice a week for powerlifting, and twice a week for basketball. He’s doing some type of training every day and it's changed his life and it's given him some type of purpose on how he can be an inspiration to others, to those that have a disability in sports and the world.”

“I just want to be a part of the team and help bring home some gold medals. And yes, I’ve got some secret moves!”- he laughed.

The joyous disposition both Lanes have and share is a result of their faith which they are unabashedly vocal about wherever they go and they share with any service member they meet. “If I leave them with anything it’s that God’s given me the strength to get through everything I’ve been through. Which is why after being blown up by a two-hundred-pound bomb, being in combat, in a coma for a month and a half, hospitalized for so long…and dying twice on the table- being here 13 years after all that? And mind you I’ve also been in two car accidents that totaled my vehicle both times since being home. So, life continues, and we have to make sure we have the strength to move on with it and we can't do it alone. I get my strength from God.”

His bride sees that strength and explains his recovery is forever, but he works the recovery. “Overall mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects of his life are getting stronger. These are the pillars he speaks about to others. His training is challenging him even more to be better. He sees he can do more and he is not limited.”

“I don’t know how to spell can’t,” JP chimed in after Crystal’s comment.

Meeting his fellow Soldier athletes, mixing it up, forging new friendships, and learning from each other at Army Trials this week is even more important than the competition to JP.

“I remind people especially if they walked away from the faith and some have asked God why did you let this happen to me, I say FYI HE didn’t. We have free will. 2nd Timothy talks about being a Soldier for Christ. I was a Soldier and I’m still a Soldier. I’m just in a different Army.”

Lane hopes to sport Team Army across his chest in June at the 2024 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Orlando Florida. “I just want to help the team and be a light wherever we go.”