A STOURBRIDGE martial arts instructor is facing his toughest challenge yet - teaching himself to walk again after almost losing his leg in a freak accident.
This time last year Dan Woodruff was at the peak of his physical fitness and setting himself a series of challenges as part of efforts to gain his fifth degree black belt.
But the 38-year-old, who runs Academy Martial Arts in Bagley Street, Stourbridge, is now having to go back to the start after suffering a serious injury to his right shin as he tried to stop his car from rolling down a friend's driveway into a pensioner's bungalow.
He said: "I ran behind my car to try and stop it but you can’t stop a rolling car. It knocked me backwards and my leg was crushed against a lamp-post and my shin split wide open."
The Midlands Air Ambulance arrived at the scene in Norton, and Dan, who was bleeding heavily, was flown to the region's trauma unit - the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham- where he underwent emergency surgery, including a skin graft, to try and save the damaged leg.
Ten days later, after losing half his calf muscle and receiving successful treatment to fix a broken fibula, he was allowed home with crutches and a wheelchair.
But doctors have told him it will be three to six months before he can walk again and 12 months before he's likely to be fighting fit again.
However - optimistic Dan, of Stourbridge, says he just feels blessed not to have been more seriously hurt.
He said: "After the second lot of surgery it dawned on me how serious it was. I was so lucky it missed my ankle or knee; to get away with what I did was unbelievable.
"I know this has happened for a reason but I don't know what yet. It's going to take me 12 months to get back to where I was. It's going to be hard but I'm going to be able to do it."
Just weeks before the January 25 incident - the superfit father-of-one had rounded off a year of tests he set while striving to achieve his highest grade black belt.
During 2013 he challenged himself to complete 57,200 press ups (including 5,000 in one day), 52,000 sit ups, 1,050 rounds of sparring, a knife-fighting instructor course and a gruelling trek to Base Camp on Mount Everest to push himself to the limit during the year in which he gained his World All-Star Karate Organisation masters degree.
He also carried out 1,000 acts of random kindness and raised nearly £2,300 for charity.
Dan, who has been kickboxing for 21 years and running his popular academy for around ten, says he hopes to arrange a fundraiser when he's back to full fitness to say thank you to the airborne medics who flew to his aid.