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Around The Fleet

Around the Blind Curve

Motorcyclist recounts story of almost losing his leg

He tries hard to think back on that day. He tries hard to remember. He knows he was heading back to work. He turned into a blind curve and there was a car on his side of the road.

And then nothing.

"When I came to, I was lying in the street and my leg was 90 percent cut off from my body," said Construction Electrician 2nd Class Alan Thomas.

Thomas had been in a motorcycle accident. That much he knew. Then he was out again.

The Navy got Thomas from Spain to Walter Reed in a little more than a week in an effort to save his leg.

"When I got here, the doctors had to cut out 13 centimeters of bone and flesh to try to save my leg," said Thomas. "And we got to the point where they had to amputate, but the doctors decided not to."

Eventually the doctors had to mash Thomas's bones together to save his leg. However, he was still negative those 13 centimeters of bone. Now he is growing his leg back and has about five centimeters left.

After all was said and done and I looked back on the motorcycle and the car, I shouldn't be alive."- CE2 Thomas.

"I'd say this was a second chance at life, at doing everything the right way and paying to attention to what's going on around."

Thomas is looking forward to walking and even hoping to be able to run again. But it unsure what the future holds in regards to his Navy career.

"I reenlisted when I got here, with the intentions of staying in, and I still have those intentions," said Thomas. "I don't know what's going to happen in a year and a half from now. I'm a Seabee, and I love supporting other units ... and actually seeing the affect my work has on others. I can directly see how I'm impacting other environments, other military branches, and it brings a lot of joy to me, so I would love to be able to do that again if I were able to stand."

And Thomas wants to do more than stand. He has always been big into sports and highly competitive so he hopes to participate in the Warrior Games if possible.

Photo collage for the story Around the Blind Curve. Photos are of CE2 Alan Thomas and his foot.

"I would like to participate in anything and everything," said Thomas. "I really have no limits; except roller coasters."

Thomas, like most Sailors, assumed these kind of accidents only happened to other people. He had taken all the classes, worn all the protective gear and was riding his motorcycle safely on a day with more than perfect weather conditions. He just never expected to see a car appear on his side of the road.

"Honestly, I'd say while you're in the military, stay away from motorcycles," said Thomas. "I'd say stay away from them forever. Even though I'm telling you this, I might still ride again because it's a passion, but just as safe as you can; pay attention to what's going on around you because anything can happen to anybody.

I was the one saying, 'this will never happen to me,' or 'that will never happen to me,' and look at me now." -CE2 Thomas

Thomas is thankful for the support he has received from the Red Cross, Navy Safe Harbor and Wounded Warrior, as well as the support from his command. He is determined to make the most of this second chance - just no roller coasters.

**Editor's Note**

Despite every effort to save his leg, earlier this month Thomas underwent surgery to have it amputated. His recovery continues as he prepares for a new set of challenges. His future in the Navy remains uncertain.