It is November 2014. Dan Nunnely is enjoying the good weather as he glides down the sunny streets of Phoenix Arizona on his Harley Davidson. Suddenly a car runs a red light, and within a split second Dans life is about to change forever. Dan breaks his neck and suffers several severe nerve damages, and he will have to amputate his lower left leg. He spends the next 8 weeks in hospital, before being allowed home. But due to the severity of his neck injury, he is still restrained to a hospital bed in his home for another 8 weeks.
Once Dan was allowed to start moving, his wife would start bringing him to the local gym, where he starting doing programs from Bodybuilding.com. At the same time, he started physical therapy. But that did not last long, and the physical therapist was soon replaced by a trainer/coach. With the new coach in place, it only took Dan one week before he was walking without crutches. Before the accident Dan was only working out at the gym to stay in shape, but together with his coach he now set out to create the strongest version ever of himself.
Early summer 2015 Dan watched John Michael Stitt on YouTube. Stitt is also a lower-leg amputee, and Dan watched videos of him competing at North America’s Strongest Disabled Man 2015. So Dan decided to start training for Strongman. And here is a man showing great determination and results. After just one year of training, he managed to place 6th in the Worlds Strongest Disabled Man in August 2016, Manchester, UK. Not only that, he set a new World Record there, pulling a 9 ton truck over a distance of 20 meters in only ___ seconds.
As if that wasn’t enough, only a few weeks prior he came 5th in the Fire Truck Pull at the Great Ape Strongman Challenge in his home town of Phoenix, Arizona. This was a charity event in support of local firefighters.
“Everyone has something to overcome. Mine is just visible”
Dan is putting in some real serious training in 2017, aiming to compete in able bodied strongman competitions. His plan for 2018 is to exclusively compete in able bodied competitions, a great and awesome goal and challenge. He once told us that “I don’t consider myself disabled, I just live with a disability”, a statement that goes like hand-in-glove with his aspirations. Furthermore, he is also training for his first full powerlifting meet in October 2017, a good indication of his love for strength sport.
When we first met Dan during the Worlds Strongest Disabled Man 2016 he told us that after he started training for Strongman the phantom pains from his missing limb disappeared. And they only come back if he has a break from working out.
In mid-May Dan and his wife will be relocating to Arlington, TX, and the locals there will frequently find him at the Original Metroflex Gym.