Photo Credit: Adi Deutsch
Adi Deutsch, IDF veteran, amputee and marathon runner

Adi Deutsch served in the Golani Brigade of the Israeli Defense Forces during the First Lebanon War. Deutch stepped on a landline and lost his right leg in 1979.

Adi Deutsch

After several weeks in the Rambam Hospital in Haifa, Adi went home. Deutsch’s next stop was in a rehabilitation facility. He stayed in rehab for three months, where he learned to walk again, using a prosthetic leg.


Fast forward to January of 2012, when Adi received a phone call from the Friends of the IDF. That phone call changed his life in ways that he could never have imagined.

The FIDF offered him the chance to participate in their Strides program, an FIDF initiative providing athletic prosthetics to injured veterans.

The Strides program assists wounded IDF veterans rediscover their strength by providing special prosthetics for athletic activities. It provides training in Israel, travel to and accommodations in the United States, and prosthetics from the A Step Ahead Clinic in Hicksville, NY.

The Strides program also arranges for continued maintenance of the prosthetics in Israel, psychological therapy for the injured veterans, fees for their entry in athletic competitions, and other group activities in Israel and the States.

Deutsch jumped at the opportunity to participate in this amazing program.

As the result of this program, Adi began participating in various paralympics meets in cycling and volleyball. Adi had three different prosthetics, one for soccer, one for walking and one for running.

The running prosthetic, Adi told the, “changed my life.”

“Suddenly – it was very strange – suddenly I was able to participate in sports I never thought about before,” Adi said.

After this change of life opportunity, Adi began competing in triathlons. He competed and finished third in the European Champsionships for the Disabled. He competed in an Olympic Paratriathlon.

Adi competed in Europe, in London and in Turkey. He placed second in the Israeli Iron man competition (the Israman) in Eilat, in January, 2014.

And then Adi did something even more astounding – he competed in a European Ironman championship in Frankfurt in which Adi was the only amputee who participated.

With his worldwide competitions came worldwide recognition. Adi became an incredible inspiration both for disabled athletes and fully-abled athletes as well. He was invited to speak in schools and to soldiers in hospitals. It turns out Adi was a winner not only in athletic competitions but also in his ability to serve as an inspiration for others.

“It was my mission, I felt obligated to give what I could to the community,” he said. “The FIDF gave me a present and I had to give back.”

Adi saw it as his special mission to do what he could to bring together and integrate the abled and the disabled, for them together to see the challenges each faces during competition and training programs.

When he’s not training or competing in various races, Adi is the chief executive officer of one of Israel’s largest Community Centers, Havayot, located in his hometown of Rehovet. He is also the very proud father of three daughters, two of whom served in the Caracal Brigade – the IDF’s co-educational combat unit.



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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: [email protected]