Editor’s Note: This article includes images of the man’s injuries. Viewer discretion is advised.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A man from the Muskegon area beat the odds after he was involved in a serious motorcycle crash in September. He was paralyzed from the neck down but fought through recovery and is now walking again.
“Without MFB (Mary Free Bed), I don’t know if that would have happened,” Andy Hoffman said.
The 47-year-old was riding his motorcycle on Sept. 14 in Baldwin when he lost control. He flipped over the handlebars and skidded 75 feet onto the side of the road.
“I laid there for about two hours before anybody found me,” Hoffman said.
Unable to move and in and out of consciousness, a passerby finally came to his rescue.
Medics arrived shortly after to take him to the hospital. Surgeons quickly determined he needed lifesaving surgery to remove his C3-C7 vertebrae.
“There were risks with that surgery but without that surgery, within 24 hours he would be totally quadriplegic. He was basically quadriplegic,” Hoffman’s wife, Lisa, said.
It was a risk the Hoffman’s were willing to take.
After weeks of no progress, Hoffman started to turn a corner while at Mary Free Bed and was able to make small movements with his arms and legs.
Doctors and therapists said he’d be in rehab for a minimum of eight weeks and he walked out in three weeks.
“I shocked everybody there wasn’t a person who didn’t have wide eyes. It was unheard of to have this happen,” he said.
Hoffman left Mary Free Bed exactly one month after his accident. Yet, he still had more to prove. Just one day after leaving the facility, he went back to the scene to leave a mark of his own.
He found his visor, parts of his bike and closure.
“My bike was marked as a death bike. It was chilling to walk down that road and see all the paint marks where my bike and tire marks were and the skid marks,” Hoffman said. “I really felt like I had to go back there. That really completed what I had to do. I had to go walk this and stand where they thought I would never stand probably.”
After 44 years, Hoffman’s riding days are now over. He’s finding a new thrill while making sure other bikers enjoy theirs.
“Doggone it, wear a helmet,” he said. “I would not be here making this interview if I didn’t have mine on.”
With the trajectory doctors say Hoffman is on, he’ll be closer to normal within a year.