The past five months have been some of the hardest Michael Hamm has endured. The 40-year-old husband and father of two is rebuilding his life after an accident that broke several bones in his face and resulted in the loss of his right eye.
On Feb. 2, 2021, Michael was driving home from work on Highway 385 when a piece of jagged metal fell off of a flatbed truck in front of him.
“It bounced on the road, went up in the air and through my windshield,” he recalls. “It hit me in the head, essentially right between the eyes.”
The accident broke Michael’s nose, destroyed his orbital eye socket, and broke the sinuses in his forehead. After arriving at Regional One, he underwent emergency surgery in an attempt to save his eye. A second surgery followed a few weeks later to remove that eye and rebuild the structure of Michael’s face. And during a more recent third surgery, doctors reconstructed the bones deep inside his nose.
“It feels like the longest five months of my life,” he says. “I had no idea how much it would take to put me back together.”
An avid cyclist, Michael says one of the most difficult parts of his recovery process was being forced to rest and recover in the two months following the accident.
“Cycling has always been a way to clear my head, a way to enjoy nature and feel the breeze on my face,” he explains. “It has always been my freedom.”
Michael taught himself to ride a bike as a kid. It was his ticket around town and how he learned to navigate city streets. Now, it’s an activity that he and his wife, Mary, enjoy doing with their children, Olivia, 13, and Eli, 7.
Despite his ongoing recovery and the need for at least one more surgery, Michael is back on his bike and working full time.
“I get questions all the time asking how I ride and drive with one eyeball. The physical part of it is no different. I just have to be a little more conscious of where I’m looking on the road and on the trails. I have to move my head a little bit more because my peripheral vision is no longer there.”
Through his job as the manager of Bikes Plus in Germantown, he’s able to do what he loves and connect with others who share his passion for cycling. Those customers ended up being a significant support system for him after the accident.
“The cycling community surprised me,” he says. “So many more people reached out to me than I ever knew were willing. I come across tons of cyclists every day, but the amount of people willing to help and offer support has been huge.”
Michael also leans on his family, friends, and church community for support. But perhaps most of all, he credits his faith for giving him the patience and strength to overcome the physical and emotional challenges he now faces.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without God supporting me, without my faith, without my family, or those friends reaching out,” he says. “I wouldn’t be able to get through that without all of those people and without having God on my side.”
Michael’s road to recovery continues. He will have another surgery before the end of the year during which doctors will repair his tear duct so he can eventually be fitted for a prosthetic eye.
“I’m doing well. I’m glad I have the most significant surgeries out of the way,” he says. “I ride my bike on a regular basis and I’m enjoying my life in every way that I can with my family and cycling.”
After all that he’s been through, Michael hopes his experience can help others facing challenges and obstacles whether they be the result of an injury or something else.
“The world does crazy things, and it’s not about blame. I don’t believe God did this to me. What I do believe is that God can take any circumstance—good or bad—and change lives and change your perspective,” he says. “What I want people to know is that anyone can get through anything through the strength of God and through the support of family and friends.”
By Kelsey J. Lawrence
Photo by Tindall Stephens