ESS 2021: Student lost leg, but not his positive outlook
September 20, 2021
Adrian Grajeda
Grade: 12 School: Palm Desert High School District: Desert Sands USD ACSA region: 19 Life can change dramatically in just a few seconds. It took only that long for a piece of shrapnel from a car crash to cause Adrian Grajeda to lose his lower leg at 10 years old. He spent the following years learning to walk again with a prosthetic leg and adjusting to the extreme change in his life.

With a positive attitude, a deeply supportive family, inner strength and resilience, Adrian found inspiration from those around him, including from his participation in a Wounded Warrior program. As the years went on, he played football in school, walked the 2019 Rose Parade with the Donate for Life float and learned to surf. Adrian plans to attend College of the Desert this fall, and will no doubt continue to thrive.
How did one day, October 23rd, 2013, shape your life? When I was 10 years old, it was recess for elementary school and I went out to go play soccer. I was just kicking soccer balls with my friends. And at the intersection, a drunk driver ran through the fence. And some of the metal sliced my leg and damaged all my nerves and hit severe arteries. I fell on the ground, but the teachers helped me, and I was able to get to a hospital.
To be 10 and have to deal with something so tragic, how did you react to all of it? When I was in middle school, it was super tough going through all of it. And I also had nightmares. I just wanted to be normal.
What type of role did the school community play in those early stages after the accident? I’m super grateful for a lot of the teachers. When my accident happened, there were plenty of teachers who went over there and helped me. One of them took off their shirt and tied it around my leg to try and stop the bleeding. They did everything they could. And then the coaches ­­– I developed a bond with them helping me through it.
Region 19 2021 ESS Adrian Grajeda.
Region 19 2021 ESS Adrian Grajeda.
Region 19 2021 ESS Adrian Grajeda.
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