Park recalls the moment of realization that his life had changed and the panic he felt from it.
"I knew I wasn't going to be in the Navy anymore, I had a 17-month-old son and my wife was pregnant with my daughter," Parks recalled.
I turned to my wife and asked her, 'do you still love me?' And she looked me right in the eye and said 'Brett I didn't marry you for your foot.' The moment she said that I knew it was going to be okay." - Brett Parks
Parks had more than 20 surgeries in the following five months and would spend the next four months after that recovering, including learning to walk with a prosthetic leg.
Parks' medical case worker had been trying to introduce him to Navy Wounded Warrior - Safe Harbor, which is the sole Navy organization for coordinating the non-medical care of wounded, ill and injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen. The program provides individually tailored assistance designed to optimize the success of the wounded warriors' recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration activities.
In 2014, Parks' case worker caught his attention with an e-mail titled "want to go to Hawaii?"
Parks would attend the 2014 Wounded Warrior Pacific Invitational, where he would take home gold medals in swimming, and track and field events and silver in sitting volleyball. In September he would join other service members as part of team USA and travel to London for the inaugural Invictus Games.
Meeting other service members with traumatic injuries Parks said there was an initial thought that his injury didn't compare to those injured in combat; like somehow his wasn't as bad.
"When I think of my injury compared to other guys that got injured overseas I'm like 'oh man they really got it bad because they're actually in combat, in battle,' but that's my inner monologue," said Parks. "But nobody shows it. They [other service members] look at me as I'm injured and there's a guy I'm close to and he got shot a few times over in Iraq, but we look at each other as bullet brothers. It doesn't matter where the bullet came from; we just know that we got shot."
With the amazing support from his wife and children, Parks also has the help of his service dog Freedom.