Seven years ago, Blake Haxton could not even be sure he'd live to see another day.

Seven years ago, Blake Haxton could not even be sure he'd live to see another day.

Today, the Upper Arlington native is working his way into the financial world and can't get enough of investment funds and equity research.

"I value corporations," said Haxton, a 2009 graduate of Upper Arlington High School currently interning at Diamond Hill Capital Management. "We try to buy them if they are too cheap, and short (sell) them if they are too expensive."

That's only one of Haxton's passions.

Haxton, who had to have most of his right leg and all of his left leg amputated in 2009 because of necrotizing fasciitis, commonly known as flesh-eating disease, also happens to be a world-class rower. He will compete in the 2016 Summer Paralympics, which will be held from Sept. 7-18 in Rio de Janeiro.

"I feel great all around," Haxton said. "I'm still training six days a week. I do two-a-days. I graduated from law school (at Ohio State) two months ago. I took my second level of Chartered Financial Analyst (an accreditation for financial professionals) exams. I have no confidence that I passed, but I hope so.

"I am as busy as I've ever been. But that's the way I want to be."

Haxton has come a long way from being the high school senior fighting for his life in spring 2009. He underwent about 25 surgeries -- "I stopped counting at 20," he said -- didn't begin to fully recover until later that year and barely entertained the idea of rowing again for several years.

"You really can't get much sicker (than Haxton was) and still be alive," Dr. Steven Steinberg, director of Ohio State's Division of Critical Care, Trauma and Burn, told The Columbus Dispatch in 2009.

Haxton's return to the sport was an almost immediate success.

He finished fourth in the 2014 World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam, was fifth in last year's World Rowing Championships in France and won the men's arms and shoulders single sculls championship (4 minutes, 57.56 seconds) in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team Trials on April 24 in Sarasota, Florida.

Runner-up Robbie Blevins was 44.59 seconds behind.

Haxton competed in last year's World Rowing Championships with a broken rib.

"He has no competition in the U.S.," said Chris Swartz, the former boys rowing coach at Upper Arlington who continues to serve as Haxton's coach and also works with women's arms and shoulders single sculls qualifier Jacqui Kapinowski of Tequesta, Florida. "Not many people can touch his arm and shoulder strength. I expect to see him on the podium (in Rio)."

Haxton has told his story in dozens of interviews as well as select speaking engagements, although he said he doesn't seek those out.

"I'm honored to be asked," he said.

"Everybody wants his story," Swartz said. "He saved his life. OSU helped, but Blake saved his life. He had, and has, an enormous cardiovascular system. His training is what kept him alive. If he didn't have that genetic advantage, I am not sure he would have survived."

Haxton acknowledged concern with health issues, including widespread water pollution and the Zika virus, surrounding the coming Olympic Games, which will take place from Aug. 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro. The Paralympics will use the same facilities.

"I am way more concerned with the water quality. When you're out there, you're going to be splashed," said Haxton, who said he will wear a new seamless uniform with antibacterial technology incor-porated. "You wonder how it will be from a bacterial and viral point of view. I'll keep my own bottle of water in the boat and rinse off when I can."

Those are about all the external factors Haxton said he will be able to control.

"I like to say that in rowing, you can't play defense," Haxton said. "You can just go as fast as you can."

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave