Lake Tahoe’s Andy Wirth Learns To ‘Just Breathe’

Pearl Jam’s song ‘Just Breathe’ may have saved Andy Wirth’s life. Andy is the CEO and also the President of the Squaw Valley Resort in the Lake Tahoe area. He can ‘high five’ people about it now, but only about one year ago he nearly lost an arm, and very nearly his life.

He has long been an avid skydiver who, on one particular jump, found himself descending over a vineyard. He hoped for the best as he landed, but a vine support in the vineyard took his arm off. As blood spurted quickly out his arm’s stump, he knew he was in very deep trouble –

Andy Wirth is a former back country ranger, well educated about dealing with bodily trauma in uninhabited areas. His training took over and he remained calm to push back against a state of shock. As he thought of what to do, Pearl Jam’s song ‘Just Breathe’ came to mind.

To himself he sang that song: “Yes, I understand… every life must end,” the song begins. Wirth said he used the song to deal with overcoming death that afternoon. He used his good hand to pinch the flow of blood from his brachial artery to keep himself from bleeding out.

Fortunately, rescue and an ambulance quickly found him and then he was transferred by helicopter to an emergency room. In this exclusive report by Crowdrise, Andy Wirth began to believe he might live. It took complex surgery and a 3 month hospital stay to fully recover his arm. However, he was emotionally and physically a wreck. Recovery was a very slow and painful process that had him feeling depressed at times.

By a chance meeting, Andy Wirth became involved with the Navy Seals‘ Navy Seal Foundation. He and two of the Navy Seals formed an IRONMAN 70.3 race team to raise money for wounded Navy Seals. They called their team: Special Warfare Warrior Support Team. They have raised $38,000 so far.

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