As a fifty-nine year old brick mason, Roger Howard was used to difficult days. September 3, 2011 would prove to be one of the hardest days he would ever experience, although he has no memory of it. He was doing a good deed by taking his wife’s 2001 Harley Davidson to the shop for a state inspection. Neither he nor the bike would ever be the same. Conflicting reports indicate that a car moved into Roger’s travel lane causing an accident. He received life threatening injuries as a result. He was extremely blessed to have an off duty Virginia State Trooper on the scene immediately. The officer applied a tourniquet to staunch the bleeding–in effect, saving Roger’s life. The officer left as soon as first responders arrived and Roger was never able thank him.
Roger underwent twenty-one surgeries–including an amputation of his left leg below the knee, implants of various hardware, and bone, blood vessel, and skin grafts have occurred since the accident, as well as a two and a half month hospital stay. The original prognosis called for removal of his leg above the knee, something Roger and his family fought hard against. Only twelve weeks of physical therapy was prescribed as the doctors believed he would never recover the ability to move the damaged knee joint more than thirty-five degrees.
Roger had always been active so he decided to join a gym. He lasted three days at the first gym and got more discouraged than ever due to the lack of assistance or encouragement. The search was on again for a place where he could feel he was getting what he needed. On January 1, 2013 Roger, his wife, his daughter, and his son in law joined Anytime Fitness in Culpeper, Virginia. He has never looked back. He tells his family that exercising is changing his life mentally and physically. If he skips a couple days, he feels it. He is sleeping better and has more energy. He has increased the range of motion in his left leg to nearly 90 degrees. Due to some permanent tissue damage, he and his doctors are still working out the issues with his prosthesis, but he forges ahead. His wife Debbie quotes her mother as saying “can’t is a coward and is too lazy to try.” Roger obviously believes that because he never says “I can’t do it.” Debbie also claims without their faith, she is sure the outcome would have been different.
With assistance from his son in law, Patrick, and personal trainer, Bryan Forsing, Roger has mastered most of the machines in the gym (with some adaptation), including the elliptical and treadmill. Without the ability to feel where his left foot is the elliptical is a challenge, but he perseveres.
He is an amazing example of what the Fitness Rebellion is all about. He is definitely “kicking ‘but’”! He says exercise is changing his life. His presence in the gym and his can do attitude is changing my life. as well as all the members he interacts with. He inspires us!
By the way, Roger is looking into getting back on a motorcycle, even if he has to settle for three wheels.
Submitted by Fitness Rebel Roger Howard