SIDNEY – A former Sidney High School student-athlete, who lost his right hand in a freak accident, earned a gold medal in rowing at the 2022 Invictus Games this month.

The Invictus Games is an athletic worldwide competition for wounded veterans.

Before joining the United State Marine Corps, K.C. Higer competed in wrestling for the Red Raiders. He graduated in 2019. He is a motor transport mechanic with the Marines.

On July 12, 2020, while working underneath a pickup truck, the transmission fell from the vehicle and the u-shaped bracket sliced through Higer’s right wrist.

Higer went through a long rehab and occupational therapy process. He had to relearn how to do everything with his non-dominant hand.

“Wherever the mind goes the body follows,” Higer said. “If you have a negative mindset, you’ll travel further and further downhill. I had to keep a positive mindset through the situation and realize this is a part of my life and I just have to work with it.”

Higer learned how to use his prosthetic hand through rowing. He picked up the sport in Sept. 2020 and quickly discovered his strength was a big advantage.

He competed in the Virtual Warrior games and earned a spot on Team USA for the Invictus Games in the Netherlands. 20 countries competed. Higer was entered into two rowing competitions, power-lifting, swimming and sitting volleyball.

He won silver in the four-minute rowing competition and took gold by 330 meters in the minute-long rowing competition.

According to Higer, some countries didn’t have enough members to make up a sitting volleyball team, so he got to fill-in and be a part of a team made up of several different countries. While they didn’t win gold, Higer said it was some of the most fun he has ever had.

“It’s crazy to think about,” Higer said. “Never in a million years would I have believed that I would be going to the Invictus Games, and rowing and winning gold.”

He says losing his hand has really helped with his outlook on life.

“There’s a lot of good that came out of a bad situation,” Higer said. "I like to think of it that way.”

Higer says he probably wouldn’t be married if that accident hadn’t happened. He says he will never be fully capable, but for a hand amputee, he’s extremely capable. 

Higer is currently at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.