Danielle Burt was always an active woman—but when a motorcycle accident sent her down the side of a mountain, her life changed forever. Upon waking up from a medically-induced coma, she found that her leg had been amputated above the knee.
She got in touch with organizations for adaptive athletes, and soon she was able to resume her athletic life. Danielle was looking for a way to get back into the water, and her surfing friends encouraged her to give the sport a shot. There weren’t any prostheses made specifically for surfing, so her and her prosthetist created one that would work for her.
It wasn’t long before she traded in her skateboard for a surfboard. Not one to do anything casually, Danielle embraced the competitive side of the sport. She recently finished first in the women’s division of the International Surfing Association’s Adaptive World Surfing Championships, and 16th overall.
Beyond catching waves and smoking the competition, Danielle has decided to dedicate her life to helping others. Her most recent accomplishment is graduating with a DPT in physical therapy. She now works in acute inpatient care at Sharp Memorial, the very place where she learned to adapt to her new life.
Next July, Danielle will embark on another life journey—she will marry Cuyla Coogan, the daughter of Lift and Transfer Specialists founder Craig Coogan!
Danielle took what was a tragic accident and used it to create a life full of meaning and vigor. From winning the USA Championships and earning her doctorate, this athletic woman is the definition of grabbing life by the horns. We’re happy to have women like her in the world, and we look forward to hearing about what she will do next!