Mike Scott: CSA Blundstone Boots Saved my Foot… and my Career
The evening of August 23, 2016 Mike Scott was returning to his campsite near Wiarton, Ontario on his Harley Davidson Sportster. He was almost there when he topped a blind crest. Today, Mike doesn’t remember anything else that happened until five days later, when he first became aware of the hospital bed, his wife’s worried face, and the pain he felt from multiple injuries – including a shattered pelvis; fractured femur, lumbar, sternum and neck; collapsed lung and broken wrist.
Immediately beyond the rise, a minivan had pulled into his lane. He struck it head-on at 80 kilometres an hour and flew off his bike and over the van. He landed, crumpled, in a ditch many metres down the road.
Twice that first night, the doctors told his wife that he probably wouldn’t survive the night. When Mike proved them wrong, and was eventually able to begin physical therapy, therapists told him he might be able to return to work in two years – if he was lucky.
But this past summer, nine days shy of the first anniversary of the accident, Mike returned to modified duty as a firefighter with Central York Fire Services.
“I joke that my stubbornness paid off for once,” says Mike. “I’ve literally been given a second chance at life. In Wiarton, they worked on me for an hour to bring me back. So I work harder, I keep positive, and I don’t accept limitations. Or else I would still be on the couch recovering.” At the rehab facility, Mike insisted on therapy twice a day, seven days a week; the base regimen was three times a day, a mere three days a week.
Beyond his determination, Mike credits his remarkable recovery to his solid physical shape before the accident; his desire to get home to his wife and young son; and the support he received from his fellow firefighters. When they weren’t at his bedside, he was with them – gathered around the kitchen table in the firehall via FaceTime. “It felt like I was truly part of the family again, and they kept telling me to hurry up and get back. ‘Because we’re not a family until you get back here.'”
He’s also thankful that he was wearing his Blundstone 163’s the night of the accident. “I had a small bruise on one toenail, and that’s it. I had zero injuries on my foot or toes because I was wearing Blundstone. These boots honestly saved my foot and my career.”
Mike put on his first pair of Blundstone boots in 2009, when he worked in construction and volunteered as a firefighter with the Town of Blue Mountains, Ontario. “They were rugged, practical and comfortable,” he says. “I called them my steel-toed slippers. Even after a busy day I would still wear them to go out that night. They just look better the more worn out they get.”
When he became a full-time firefighter, he got another pair for work and a new pair for working around the house and riding his Harley. “I think everyone’s boots tell a story, and my Blundstones reflect me,” he says. “One pair looks professional shined up as part of my firefighter uniform. But when I’m off work, I’m hands-on and down-to-earth, and my rough old Blundstones reflect my easygoing side – a little weathered and rough around the edges.”
A lot of the seasoned healthcare workers who knew Mike called his recovery a miracle. He sees it as a new opportunity.
“The only two things I can control are my work ethic and my attitude. I set goals and work harder than the average person. I will only accept bad moments, not bad days. And if I’m sore or tired I can be sore and tired at the gym, so I can achieve my goals. After this life obstacle, I wonder what next big goal I can set.
What advice would he share with others based on his experience?
“Don’t accept limitations. They’re a reference, but don’t let them limit you. It’s not a competition. Asking for help is not a weakness. It’s a true start. I get inspiration from my brothers and sisters in the fire service that never left my and my family’s side during my recovery. Part of me works so hard as a way of saying ‘Thank you!'”
Today, Mike’s on his fourth pair of Blundstone boots. “They go everywhere with me, and the more beat up and rugged they get, the more I like them. My adventures never stop.”
In November 2018, Mike Scott passed away. We are grateful to have met Mike and shared in his incredible story. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends.