The Heroes of ATARI: Michael's Story

After suffering from a workplace injury, Michael Martin was in so much pain it was difficult to walk. Michael has worked for the Macon Water Authority for nearly 8 years. He experienced a serious knee injury when a driver slammed into his work truck at the intersection of Brookdale Avenue and Vineville Avenue as he was leaving a job.

The MWA helped Michael get an appointment at Piedmont Orthopaedic Complex, where he eventually had surgery with Dr. Ryan DeCoons to repair the injury. Michael then had rehabilitation with Heath Mills, ATC in Piedmont’s ATARI (Athletic Therapy and Rehabilitation Institute).

Michael can’t say enough about the therapy department at Piedmont, particularly Heath.

 “You could tell that Heath really cared. This wasn’t just a job for him,” Michael said. “Everyone in the therapy department is great. [He and Bradley Huff, ATC] are a team. They were both pushing not only me but all the other patients in there.”

Michael was determined to not let the injury end his career with the MWA. He couldn’t imagine living the rest of his life on workmans’ comp disability.

“I want to eventually quit or retire on my own terms,” Michael said.  

He learned the value of hard work and independence from a young age. His mother passed away when he was just a little boy and he lost his grandmother just a short time later.

“Women are the most important people in your life,” said Michael. “You lose them, you lose some of your focus.”

The tragic loss of his mother helped him discover a passion for photography, something he has turned into a flourishing business over the past 17 years. When he isn’t working with MWA or spending time with his family, he is shooting weddings, birthdays and headshots for models out of Atlanta. (Check out his art here)

Before his rehabilitation at Piedmont, Michael had to turn down photography jobs.  After a lot of hard work in ATARI, Michael is able to return to full duty at MWA several weeks earlier than anticipated. He also was able to accept a wedding shoot that he originally thought he would have to turn down.

At the time of his interview, Michael was excitedly planning a special screening of Moana for his daughter and her friends and planned to do favors for each of the little girls. Michael jokes that his wife says he is “so extra”.

Michael is the kind of person who simply loves life.  Thanks to the assistance of his medical team, his employer, and most importantly his own dedication, he has gotten his life back.

The staff at Piedmont Orthopaedic Complex was honored to play a part in his recovery.


posted 05/01/2017 in Uncategorized

Tags: knee injury, workplace injury, workers comp, knee rehabilitation


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