CHICAGO (CBS) — It might be difficult to find an individual who loves the game of tennis more than Gary Brewer.
He will tell you that that game is his life. That life nearly ended for him in 1997, when he was hit by a train and lost his right leg.
“That was a very traumatic time,” Brewer tells CBS 2’s Harry Porterfield. “I realized what I needed to do was to minimize the accident and maximize my efforts in terms of eating, training doing all the things that I could control.”
It took eight years and a fierce determination for the 49-year-old Brewer to come back to tennis with only one leg and an artificial limb to replace the other.
Six days a week he can be found coaching kids at Bally’s in Hyde Park.
“That gave me my fire, and my desire to reinvent myself and at the same time give something and invest something in the kids,” he says.
Brewer was ranked Chicago’s No. 1 tennis player two years ago by the U.S. Tennis Association.
Since his injury brewer has competed in more than 40 tournaments. This year alone, he has won seven out of eight of those tournaments.
“Everyone was amazed at his level of play, and a lot time they didn’t know he had a prosthetic,” his tennis partner, Dowell Talie, says. “Our motto is ‘become world class,’ and it means more than just tennis and he represents that.”
And so how do his students feel about his artificial leg?
“They accept it if you accept it,” Brewer says.