Meet the brave police officer inspiring his community after returning to active duty as an amputee.
Mike Crowe was hit by a car while riding his motorbike just 24 hours before he was due to begin his first patrol after graduating police academy.
The 29-year-old star of ABC’s The Proposal says his right foot was left “hanging by a piece of skin” after it was crushed by the impact, which threw him 200ft from his bike.
Mike, then 22, was rushed to hospital where he spent two weeks and underwent 11 surgeries before having his leg amputated below the calf.
He then embarked on a grueling rehabilitation program which involved working out every day to build core strength and relearning how to walk after getting a prosthetic leg.
Just six months after the crash, Mike returned to active duty after passing various fit-for-duty tests which involved running a mile and scaling an 8ft wall.
Five years on, the City of Bakersfield Police officer is on a mission to inspire others and says having one leg has never held him back – despite having it ripped off once by a suspect.
Mike, of Bakersfield, California, said: “When I woke up in hospital I was in excruciating pain and I felt completely desperate.
“I had just graduated from the University of Arizona and the police academy and then my foot was completely severed.
“I thought my life was over at that point. I thought I wouldn’t be a police officer, the career I had been working towards for years.
“I consulted three doctors and they gave me a 50 per cent chance of saving my foot but they would have to pull skin and ligaments from other areas of my body.
“I may not have been able to run, jump or have an active lifestyle.
“It was that or they could cut off my foot, so I took a quarter and flipped it and it landed on tails so I had it amputated.
“Recovery started immediately. As soon as I got out of hospital I started going to rehab and physical therapy five times a week and then the gym for a couple of hours.
“It was difficult and I went into a depression. I didn’t think my life was going to get back to normal and I started getting suicidal thoughts.
“About three months after my accident I got my prosthetic leg and was able to walk again.
“The thought of getting back to work was one of the biggest motivators for me. I wanted to say, ‘Hey, I can do this. Watch me do this.’”
Mike returned to active duty in November 2012, six months after the March 23 2012 accident.
He said: “People thought I wouldn’t be able to do it but I proved them wrong.
“Going back to work was a surreal moment.
“Obviously at the start you are dealing with how to write reports and all the duties of a police officer, and on top of that trying to figure out how to run and walk on a prosthetic leg.
“There was one incident where a suspect was on the ground and I was handcuffing him, but he tackled me which knocked off my leg.
“A canine officer came over and the suspect ended up punching the police K-9, but I was able to put my leg back on and take him into custody.
“It has never held me back in any way. I have to take care of myself a little bit more – at the end of my shift I have to ice my leg – but other people have bad backs or knees.
“People are surprised when they see my prosthetic leg but when I wear pants you would never know. I blend in.
“I don’t see it has limiting – it’s just another part of my life.
“There are men and woman around the country who face harder challenges because of their disability but they don’t let that stop them from pursuing their dream.
“I was hired to do a job and work as a police officer in my community.
“I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to serve in that capacity. It just happens that I have one foot made of carbon fiber.”