Alaska sled dog musher Jake Berkowitz had high hopes for the 2012 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Even after a single-blade knife he was using to cut apart frozen-fish snacks for his dogs slipped and plunged deep into the flesh of his left palm, he thought he could salvage a top finish -- if he could just stop the bleeding.
Before the mishap, Berkowitz slid into Unalakleet in sixth place. But that checkpoint would be Berkowitz’ last official stop of the 1,000-mile race, as his severed artery required medical attention. With the memory of a dashed finish and the pain of the stab still haunting him today, Berkowitz is healed and ready to race again. And in his wounds, he's found opportunity.
For 2013 he must not only conquer the psychology of a promising race gone awry, but he also plans to use his experience mishandling a knife to create a blade exclusively designed for sled dog mushers.
"Knives do not injure people. We do that all on our own," Berkowitz said during a recent interview. "Ninety-nine percent of knife injuries are user error, mine included."