Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen looked back at the 1984 car wreck that led to the amputation of his left arm and said he nearly lost his right arm, too.

While surgeons were originally able to reconnect the arm that was severed as he was thrown through his car’s sunroof, it had to be removed because it became infected. The incident forced Allen to learn a different style of drumming before he made a triumphant return to the stage in 1986.

“Not too many people know this, but I broke my right arm really badly, and during the healing process, the hospital, they said, 'There's a chance that you may lose your right arm as well,’” he told Joe Rock in a recent interview. “So when I was able to get through that horrible period in time and get all the infection out of there, and then actually fix the bone and the arm, you can imagine I was so grateful.”

You can watch the interview below.

Allen explained that's why his visual artwork includes studies of his right arm and handprint. “The handprint is really, for me, a sign of gratitude, that I can still do what I do,” he noted. “And I put my hand through a lot – from drumming to the artwork and, obviously, everything that I do. So it's pretty symbolic. It's the only one I've got, but I'm really blessed to have it!”

Last year, Allen said fan support had been essential in his recovery. “I remember coming around in the hospital and then realizing what had happened to me after the accident, and honestly, I wanted to disappear," he said. "And then I started getting these letters from all over the world. ... I discovered the power of the human spirit and just said, 'You know what? I can do this. … It was all this encouragement I was getting from other people, and then it just manifested in wanting to succeed.”

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