Willie

I can begin by being honest and saying that life will never be the same. I can also say that life is now what you decide to make of it.  Just because you loose a limb, does not mean that is over. In fact, you have just begun a new journey of your life.

At the time of my accident, I was 44 years old, married for 23 years and had a son the age of 14. My accident involved fishing in a tournament. I had been a tournament fisherman for over 17 years, and this day started as any other would.  It was early December and it had snowed lightly the day before. The day of the tournament the temperature was below freezing, with the water temperature at 41 degrees.

We caught a limit of fish for the day, and decided to try another spot to possibly find some bigger fish in the last hour since the tournament ended at 3pm. At about 2:15p as we were going about 50 mph on the boat, I heard a loud pop, and the boat swayed to the right as the engine came apart from the boat and was coming right towards me.  

As the 250 hp motor (weighing approximately 550 lbs) was coming towards my head in what seemed like a split second, I was able to put my right arm up to block the motor from hitting my face. As I did this, the propeller went down, grabbed my leg and thrust me out of the boat like a helicopter which led me to go sideways into the frigid 41 degree water. Thankfully I was wearing my life jacket, which allowed me to pop up out of the water. When I reached down in the water to grab my leg, I could tell it was barely attached to my body.

With such extensive injuries, I could not get myself back into the boat. I stayed in the water and hung onto the front of the boat waiting for the water rescue team. I was able to stay awake for the whole 40 minutes I was in the water. What kept me alive was thinking about my family the whole time and repeatedly telling myself: I will not die out here, not today. 

Once rescued, I was transported to a local hospital who immediately flew me to Shock Trauma due to the extensive injuries I had to my head, arm, hand and leg. I was put into an induced coma for four days, during which time I had no recollection. While in a coma, I learned the doctors were successful in putting rods in my arm, reconstructing my hand and two fingers that needed to be put back together. I was woken briefly and was told that I would be losing my right leg above the knee.

I began leg shopping as soon as I was out of Kernan Hospital and decided to put my faith in Real Life Prosthetics™ , as that was where the Lord was leading me. Jonas and his staff were nothing less than consummate professionals as I learn about prosthetics and how this phase in my life would be very important. Once I was fitted with a perfect fitting leg, I had to learn how to walk again which consisted of hours of therapy.

Each success I had made it worth it, learning each new task you do is a highlight and makes you realize that life does go on. makes it worth it, each new task you can learn and do, is a highlight, and life does go on. I am thrilled to say that I can now go  fishing thanks to Jonas and his staff at Real Life Prosthetics™ . Ten months after the accident I was able to fish in the Championship Tournament, the same tournament that I got hurt in when trying to qualify.

By the Grace of God, I am here on Earth and surrounded by many loving individuals who support me in everything I do. Some days it is difficult to remain optimistic, but I always remind myself that life does go on and it is up to myself on how I would want it to go. You can do anything that you put your mind to.