It's not every day you let flipping a coin choose your fate, and it's almost never that it's a decision as critical as amputating your leg. But for law enforcement officer Mike Crowe, a 1976 quarter did just that. We sat down with Mike to hear his inspiring story about his recovery, his outlook on life, and how he continues moving forever forward.
You experienced a life-altering injury just after joining the police force in California. How has that shaped who you are today?
The motorcycle accident that I was involved in has completely changed the way I view life. Before that incident, I truly felt that I was invincible. I had just received my Bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona and had just completed the rigorous 6-month police academy where I became a police officer. I felt like I was on top of the world. This incident made me stop and realize you can't take life for granted. You will have tons of obstacles get in your way throughout life and it's up to you to navigate these barriers in order to find happiness.
You flipped a coin to decide if you were going to amputate your leg or not. Why that approach and how do you feel like it benefited you?
When I was in the hospital, the doctor told me that I had a 50% chance of saving my foot and being able to walk again. The doctor had his reservations about completing a successful surgery and assuring I would return to my normal physical activity. At that point, I knew that I had a chance to return to duty as a police officer if they amputated my leg and fitted me with a prosthetic. I had trouble making a decision on my own, so I flipped a 1976 quarter that was laying on the table next to my hospital bed and it landed on tails. So I told the doctor to amputate my leg.
A 6-month recovery is pretty miraculous. What do you attribute to having such a quick turnaround?
I had a great support team and great friends who kept encouraging me through my recovery process. One of my best friends (Eric) was with me every day in the gym and helped me return to top physical form. I was in the gym and at physical therapy seven days a week. I would spend one to two hours every morning at physical therapy and then would spend another two to three hours at the gym in the afternoon. I knew I would always come back and be a police officer. I had a goal and nothing was going to get in the way of achieving that goal.
If there’s one piece of advice you’d share with others who have experienced similar trauma, what would it be?
Don’t ever give up! You will have your good days and your bad days but you always have to remember to keep moving forward. It doesn’t matter what type of traumatic incident or injury you have gone through, you owe it to yourself to get active and stay active. Always remember God has a plan for you, so it's up to you to go out there and see what that is.
What’s your favorite way to sweat?
I haven’t always been a fan of cardio, but I have recently become obsessed with the rowing machine. I really like getting into a small competition with the computer and see if I can row farther than him (or it?). I normally start my workout by doing 10-12 minutes of rowing to warm up my whole body and then start my workout.
When you aren’t at work, what’s your favorite way to pass the time?
You will find me in the gym or flying my drone with my dog (Buddy). Working out and exercising is the best stress reliever. As a police officer, you're under a lot of stress after working a 10-12 hour shift. The best way to release that stress is through working out. And when I’m not in the gym, I normally take Buddy on hikes and capture those moments on my drone.
Who taught you how to be a man and what did they teach you?
My father (Tom) has had a major influence on my life and has made me the person I am today. He is a person that I look up to in life. He has taught me to be respectful to every person I meet. I have to thank my father for teaching me to never give up in life.
Favorite powerlifting move?
My favorite powerlifting lift would be deadlifting. It is a true test of your strength. That lift is a great way to work every muscle in your body. And most importantly, I like pushing my prosthetic leg to the limit. This is the best exercise to do that!
Favorite piece of Rhone clothing?
My favorite piece of clothing is the Commuter Short. Since its so hot in my hometown, so I love throwing on that pair of shorts and heading out with friends. In all honesty, I have to say every piece of Rhone clothing is my favorite. I wish I could have the entire collection at home. Every piece of clothing is so comfortable and I love the classic design.