To lose a limb is a devastating and life changing loss for anyone that goes through it. That loss is made all the more devastating and poignant when your body is the athletic machine upon which your career and livelihood are based. Michelle Salt felt that crushing blow when her motorcycle slid off the road, slamming into the hillside in June 2011. Within minutes of the near fatal accident, responders arrived on the scene. Her mangled body was airlifted via helicopter to the nearest trauma center. The chilling voice recording of the paramedics are still available and give an eerie insight into the first moments of a life or death rescue mission.
Michelle is incredibly lucky to have escaped the accident with her life. With substantial blood loss from her thigh, paramedics thought her state was touch and go- they could lose her at any time. And, even when she did arrive to the hospital, she was kept on life support for seven days! Unfortunately, Michelle did not escape unscathed. She did lose her entire right leg. Any amputation is major surgery, but a leg amputation at 10 inches above the knee is almost as drastic as it gets.
For a fitness model and professional snowboarder, losing a leg is unfathomable. Years of training and intensity had given her ultimate command of her body. Now, everything was completely and eternally changed. However, instead of letting this loss completely ruin her, Michelle saw this as a second chance and said she planned to take full advantage of it.
After months of recovery and years of rehabilitation, Michelle is in arguably the best shape of her life. She has continued competing as a fitness model and is every bit as beautiful as she was prior to the accident. In fact, Michelle even competed at the Olympic level in the Paralympic games in Sochi! Michelle continues to bike, run, snowboard, and drive, despite her significantly altered physique. In addition to maintaining her incredible fitness, Michelle gives motivational talks to young people throughout her native Canada. Her story will absolutely bring tears to your eyes and is something she is keen to share with anyone that may benefit from it.
Although Michelle has achieved incredible feats since losing her leg, she says it is a constant journey. The physical hurdles and changes are unfathomable, as anyone can see. However, there are psychological adjustments that have been some of the most difficult parts of her rehabilitation journey. Recovery has been quite the journey and Michelle continues to inspire and challenge all of us every day through her inspirational lifestyle.