“‘It’s just an arm’ is my mantra, my statement, and my empowerment term that I can use for myself in situations when I need to be reminded of the abundance and opportunity in my life,” Aldridge explained in the interview. “‘It’s just an arm’ shifts my brain from a perspective that’s concerned about the what-ifs — what if this obstacle is too difficult? When I say that statement, it makes my brain think about what I do have.”
Even as a teen, Aldridge wanted his story to inspire people.
The Lake Gaston Gazette-Observer covered the accident that changed Aldridge’s life in June 2005, a year after that fateful day. According to the newspaper, Aldridge was wakeboarding with his father on June 26, 2004, on Lake Gaston, a lake on the Virginia-North Carolina border, when the tow rope Aldridge was holding got tangled in the propeller. Aldridge, then 13, was taken to a local hospital and then airlifted to UNC Chapel Hill Medical Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.
“It was five and a half hours before he even got into the operating room,” his mother told the newspaper, recalling that day. “In the ambulance, Logan asked, ‘Mom, what if I lose my arm?’ I told him that was OK. It was only an arm.”
That possibility became reality: Doctors couldn’t save Aldridge’s arm, and Aldridge had to adjust to the fact that “this is how I’m going to be for the rest of my life,” as he told the newspaper.
While he was in the hospital, though, Aldridge got a pep talk by phone from competitive surfer and Soul Surfer subject Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm after a 2003 shark attack. “Bethany is a person I look up to,” Aldridge said. “In a way, she is my idol. I had a tough time at first. Bethany called me, and she helped me build my confidence.”
At the time of that interview, Aldridge didn’t want people to think of him as handicapped. “I want them to learn from me,” he said. “If it was a job [to inspire people], I would want to help people out, help them get through hard times.”
Now, he loves “being the guy with one arm.”
And he had shifted from wanting to inspire to wanting to motivate, as he explained: “My life’s purpose now is to motivate others. We hear inspiration a lot, especially in the case of active amputees. Inspiring is cool — and I’m grateful to do that — but motivation is different [than] inspiring. You can be inspired sitting on the couch, but when you’re motivated — you’re ready to take action and still change. Something has happened that’s made you ready to move. And I say, hey, let’s move together.”