“Every time I feel pain in my ankle — even if slight — it means I’m alive and for that I am grateful,” said Kent Emry, 54, of Eugene.
“I was cruising down I-5 on my motorcycle, making my way home to celebrate my son’s birthday. I even had a backpack full of gifts,” said Emry.
It was June 12, 2018, and the day was extremely hot. “I decided to remove my leathers, which I knew was against rider’s rules. With only a little more travel ahead of me, I remember thinking, what could go wrong?”
Moments later, the back wheel of Emry’s motorcycle locked up and it immediately skidded out from under him. With only his helmet and gloves to protect him, Emry went over the handlebars. His bike slid past him another 80 yards and burst into flames.
“I remember feeling my body tumbling on the pavement and seeing the road rapidly moving beneath the facemask of my helmet — I was conscious the entire time.”
Instinctively, Emry stood up when his body finally came to a stop. He quickly fell to the ground, and in that moment, he realized his left ankle was completely smashed.
Lying on the ground in pain, his body covered in wounds, all Emry could think about was his wife. The long-term implications of his injuries were an afterthought
“I needed to be the one to let her know what happened and that I was OK, before hearing the news from a first responder.”
After his wounds were cared for, and surgery performed on his ankle, Emry’s surgeon told him he would never walk again without a brace — that he needed to be prepared to live life differently.
“I wasn’t about to accept this as a final outcome,” said Emry. “My life is busy! I’m a husband, father of seven kids, entrepreneur, adventurer with a passion for hiking, racing cars, flying planes and so much more — my mobility is everything.”
Emry heard about oxygen therapy as a healing option from his brother who works in wound care at Samaritan. Less than a week after the motorcycle crash, he began hyperbaric oxygen therapy at Samaritan Wound, Vein & Hyperbaric Medicine in Albany.
After 60 oxygen therapy treatments, and countless hours of other physical rehabilitation activities, Emry also attributes his recovery to maintaining positive attitude, doing what his medical care team told him and to his wife for her compassion and diligent care throughout.
He’s back to doing what he loves — spending time with family, running his businesses and being active.
“My life may be adventurous, and oxygen therapy helped get me where I am today physically — but the fact that I am alive and able to continue on like I did before the accident is not lost on me,” said Emry, as he reflected on his daughter’s wedding day and being able to walk her down the aisle.
Even now, three years after the accident, Emry continues to challenge the physical strength of his ankle.“I started training with a jiujitsu coach and surprised one of my sons when I actually knew what I was doing during our competition,” said Emry.
Emry has also rebuilt the motorcycle involved in the crash and enjoys riding again.
“I wasn’t about to let it win!”
See more images of Kent’s recovery and his life interests.