Photography and video by Liz O. Baylen
Los Angeles Times
A career criminal shot Kristina Ripatti just below her armpit. The bullet slid behind her bulletproof vest and severed her spinal cord, leaving her paralyzed from the chest down. But Ripatti, an LAPD gang officer, retained the use of her arms, and that has made all the difference. With those well-muscled arms, she has continued to surf, camp and fish, not to mention drive, keep house and look after her two young children. She has completed the Boston and Los Angeles marathons on a hand cycle and is preparing for a cross-country bicycle race. Sports and fitness were a big part of her life before her spinal injury. After it, they became her keys to survival. Watch the video below for the full story.
Copyright 2010 Los Angeles Times