Here is a link to the original story on the team's website.
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Dodgers and INTEGRIS continue the 2017 “Home Run for Life” series Friday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark by recognizing Erik Macke, who was involved in a high-speed motorcycle accident that led to a fractured spine, partial paralysis and amputation of his lower left leg.
Originally expected to be confined to a wheelchair, Macke, now 23, has mastered driving, began walking with a prosthetic and arm crutches and also started a successful leathercrafting business.
“Home Run For Life” recognizes individuals in the Oklahoma City community who have overcome a significant medical event with the help of their families, physicians and health care professionals. To symbolize the end of their battle against adversity, honorees take a home run “lap” around the bases during an in-game ceremony.
“We are proud to continue the Home Run For Life Series this season and honor some remarkable individuals in our community who have battled exceptional challenges with their health,” OKC Dodgers President/General Manager Michael Byrnes said. “Their resolve and courage offer great inspiration for us all and we are pleased to join with INTEGRIS to recognize their triumphs.”
Motorcycles were always part of Macke’s life and he started taking long distance trips across the country at age 18.
He was recently married with a daughter on the way in July 2015 when a motorcycle ride changed his life. Macke was involved in an accident and taken to the hospital with a fractured spine and severe damage to his left leg.
He underwent surgery to fuse his spine and his leg had to be amputated above the knee. He remained in the intensive care unit for one week before being moved to Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation at INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center for three weeks of inpatient therapy.
Due to his spinal cord injury, Macke lost all function from his waist down for about six months. He required the assistance of two people to get in and out of bed and to his wheelchair. He also needed assistance sitting up and completing routine daily activities.
Macke worked hard to build his upper body strength and sitting balance and left his first stay at Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation as a wheelchair user in August 2015. Macke continued his hard work, learning how to drive with adaptive hand controls and mastering other daily tasks through numerous hours of outpatient therapy.
A year later, Macke returned to Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation for three weeks to begin inpatient prosthetic therapy. With a new prosthetic leg and the use of forearm crutches, Macke learned to stand and walk.
“Getting to stand tall again was one of the greatest feelings,” Macke said.
Macke said he had a great experience with the staff and care he received at INTEGRIS Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation and now works as a peer mentor there, encouraging young spinal cord injury patients.
“I feel very blessed and thankful for my recovery so far,” Macke said. “I believe a positive mind helps with positive healing. Life’s too short to not be happy all the time. We all have problems going on in life, but if everyone takes a minute and thinks about all the blessings around them then you realize there is nothing to worry about.”
His daughter is now 1 1/2 years old and he and his wife Emily are expecting a baby boy in October.
During his recovery, Macke started a business called Macke Leatherworks and now works fulltime as a leathersmith crafting various leather products such as wallets, belts, purses, keychains and more, selling them both locally and online.
“Leather work was an escape for me through some of the worst times in my recovery,” Macke said. “It has been a great success so far and I can’t thank my customers enough for that.”
To read Macke’s full story, visit okcdodgers.com.
Watch Erik Macke complete his “Home Run for Life” following the third inning of Friday’s 7:05 p.m. game against the Reno Aces at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The gates open at 6 p.m. and the first 2,000 fans through the gates receive an OKC Dodgers blanket presented by New Amsterdam. Fireworks are scheduled to follow the game presented by Francis Tuttle.
The Dodgers continue their current eight-game homestand tonight at 7:05 against Reno. The teams meet again at 7:05 p.m. on a $2 Thursday, featuring $2 soda, water and beer from a line of Pepsi and Budweiser products.
The Dodgers remain at home through Tuesday, Aug. 1, including a four-game series against the Tacoma Rainiers starting at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in Bricktown.
For tickets or additional information, please call (405) 218-1000, go online to okcdodgers.com or visit the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark ticket office located on South Mickey Mantle Drive.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.