LUBBOCK COUNTY, TX (KCBD) - Lieutenant Jason Stewart joined the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office 16 years ago and became commander of the SWAT unit in 2003. Not long after that, an injury nearly cost him his career.
"I climbed to the top of the rope and lost my grip, came down too fast, shattered my leg," Stewart said.
Doctors compared his leg to a jigsaw puzzle and told him he would never walk normally again, however when we went to interview Stewart, he found him climbing a rope, completing the exact same exercise that landed him in the hospital in 2012.
SLIDESHOW: LSO SWAT Training
Stewart said the motivation of his team, along with rigorous rehabilitation, helped him defy the odds.
"It could have been debilitating, I suppose, but there's lots of people who got worse injuries than I've sustained. You look at all of our soldiers that lose their limbs and things of that nature. Shoot, if that's all I've got to worry about, I'm doing pretty good. So, I kept a good mindset and never gave up on it," Stewart said.
He said he not only wanted to get back to his team, but he wanted to meet SWAT qualifications, meaning he would have to prove doctors wrong.
Members of the SWAT Unit are tested on their physical fitness, shooting and decision-making skills and are then interviewed by their peers who ultimately decide whether they will make the team.
"To train with these guys, I don't want to be the type of leader that just sits back and watches the guys go through most of the stuff without being able to do it myself," Stewart said.
This training prepares them for the most dangerous scenarios because they are on standby 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for any event that is beyond the normal scope of patrol.
"High risk warrants, barricaded gunmen, there is a multitude of things," Stewart said.
Stewart said his team is made up of members who do not have the word "quit" in their vocabulary and do not make the same mistake twice.
"Being a part of this group of individuals, I would say, is one of the greatest parts of my job. I couldn't hold a candle to half of those guys out there," Stewart said.
"The character of the people I work with, or the caliber I should say, of the people I work with, they are top notch. I can't say enough about them," Stewart said.