Lufkin man learns to run after losing leg

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Lufkin motorcyclist who was hit by a pick up truck that drove through a red light is thankful to finally be able to run again. Three years ago, Mike Ferrigno lost his leg but not his dignity. Now, he's learning to run again like he once did while in the U.S. Navy.

In August of 2010, Michael Ferrigno was crossing the intersection of Dennman Avenue and South First Street when a man driving a pick up truck made a traffic violation.

"A man ran a red light and busted up my leg. I had to have it amputated," Ferrigno said.

Three years later, the motorcyclist said maybe this all could have been prevented.

"He looked like he was searching for a camera. I was watching him," Ferrigno said. "I figured he'd look my way but he never did. By the time I got to the intersection he decided to take off, and he just hit me so hard it ripped my whole foot off."

The Lufkin man was air lifted to a Tyler hospital.

"I stopped breathing in the trauma center twice and evidently the lord didn't want me to leave yet," Ferrigno said.

His wife later told him his leg had to be cut off.

"It was six months later before I could actually use a prosthetic," Ferrigno said.

The former U.S. Navy air craft electrician was able to learn how to walk at a VA hospital in Houston after 14 weeks of extensive physical therapy.

"It was balancing, strength training, and learning techniques to walk better," Ferrigno said. "See I thought I knew how to walk but I didn't."

As veterans affairs has taken care of him and he's worked hard to learn how to walk with his new left leg, he figured he was ready to learn how to run again.

"It was a long road and there was stuff I had to learn along the way and after a while I just made my mind up," Ferrigno said. "I started lifting weights about 16 months ago."

As he's been dedication to never giving up, the 58-year-old became eligible for a running leg this year.

"I'm thankful because when I first ran it was pretty good feeling, and I felt like I really made a great milestone in my efforts to be able to do everything that I used to do," Ferrigno said.

Ferrigno said he believes without inner strength he would not be where he is today.

"If a person gives up, they have nothing," Ferrigno said. "There's one thing I've never done since this has happened; I've never felt sorry for myself. If a person gets in that mode, the battle is a loss."

Ferrigno said he's not scared to get back on a motorcycle but it will probably take some time before he takes a ride again.

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