Nightly News   |  April 10, 2014

Boston Bombing Survivor Describes the Moment His Life Changed

Jeff Bauman has spent the past year in grueling physical therapy, but says he’s come out of the tragedy even better than before.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally tonight, in the year since the boston marathon bombing, we have gotten to know jeff bowman and while he has since gently corrected us that his family known is pronounced bowman , it's changed a lot. we got to know him from the picture that's hard to look out, the blood and life draining from his body. while he lost both legs, jeff bowman survive that day with help. he's written about his life and struggles and victories in a new book called "stronger" and we went back to boston to check in on him as the anniversary approaches.

>> reporter: jeff bowman knows the exact moment his life changed.

>> i remember this kid standing next to me. he just seemed out of place, and he was just standing there with a backpack and just looked really odd. so i looked at him and stared at him and ignored him.

>> reporter: in the next minnesota he was gone and he remembers a flash and pop. what do you remember after that?

>> chaos. i remember it being really hot. smelt really bad. there was smoke everywhere. people were going crazy. there was debris all over us.

>> reporter: in the chaos with bowman bleeding badly, there was a man in a cowboy hat saves his life.

>> it takes courage to run through something like that not knowing if there was another bomb. what if there was another one? if it didn't go off a yet?

>> does it feel like a year?

>> it feels like a month. everything has been so quick, and i've been doing so much. you're kind of fighting, fighting yourself to move forward.

>> reporter: the pain was unimaginable, the physical therapy has been grueling but he quickly became part of that boston strong rallying cry, and in the year since carlos arredondo , the man in the cowboy hat has been by his side and sports heroes. the bruins, sox, celtics, everyone dear in boston sports .

>> yeah, i can't ask for much more. it's great to go to a ball game. it brings you back to, you know, before the tragedy. it kind of takes your mind away from everything.

>> reporter: his family and friends kept up the steady encouragement and his girlfriend erin running in the race that day never left his side. within four months of losing both legs, jeff bowman took his first steps.

>> reporter: watching you get around today, you got a new set of kicks. you're doing it.

>> yeah.

>> reporter: you're doing it. that's a big deal .

>> yeah, it is. it's hard. it's hard work, but it's worth it.

>> reporter: big news, you're going to be a dad and husband, so you got that going for you.

>> i never thought i would say that. i'm very nervous, but i know it's going to be great, and everyone i talk to says, once you hold your child, it's a whole different life. and, you know, i'm kind of excited to get that new aspect of life. i thought i was going to die.

>> reporter: yeah.

>> and now i'm walking around. trucking through a tragic event and coming out kind of way better than before.

>> how about that? jeff bowman one year later. that conversation and others and new revelations. part of an hour-long special report we're airing tomorrow. tracks the 108 hours from the start of the marathon to the capture of the second suspect. tomorrow night at 8:00,