While aboard the USS Essix, he was injured during a training accident on February 4, 2009. He was training for VBSS (Visit Board Seize and Secure). The training exercise of the day was to fast rope (slide down rope with just your hands and feet on the rope) from the Helicopter to the flight deck of the ship.
While going out of the Helicopter, his foot got caught up in the frame work, causing him to lose my grip on the rope, and to fall 50 feet to the flight deck of the ship. The fall knocked him unconscious instantly, but muscle memory stood him up, and he tried to run. The fall broke the left ankle, shattered the right ankle, tore his left hip, shattered his tailbone, compressed his lower back, and he sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury.
He underwent 2 surgeries on the right ankle, and one on the left to reconstruct his ankles allowing him to be medically retired on February 28, 2010.
Ryan Zimmerer was born and raised in Valley View, Texas. After high school, he started college at North Central Texas College but then decided to join the Marines. On December 10, 2007, he left for Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD). In March 2007 he graduated boot camp, in May graduated School of Infantry, being stationed with 3rd Battalion 5th Marines Weapons Company. He deployed with my Battalion to Okinawa Japan on the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit in January 2009.
From 2010 to present he underwent 4 more surgeries before having his left leg amputated below the knee in October 2016 at Brooks Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. On December 7, 2016, he received his first prosthesis from the Center for Intrepid (CFI). He returned home the end of January where he joined up with class 8 at Adaptive Training Foundation. During this nine-week course, he regained strength, lost weight, and gained lost confidence. He participated in the Bataan Memorial Death March, went snowboarding in Vail, Colorado, and went snowboarding again as a returning participant to Military to the Mountain.