Maine LEO returns to full duty after amputation, shares his journey

Trooper Mickael Nunez, who credits his perseverance and grit, wants to inspire others


By Suzie Ziegler 

AUGUSTA, Maine — Life is known for throwing us challenges. For some, those challenges are bigger than others. 

Two years ago, Trooper Mickael Nunez lost his leg. Nunez was setting up stop spikes to end a high-speed pursuit when the driver struck him, throwing Nunez into the air. 

"For a fraction of a second, I thought, 'Oh no. This is really bad.' And I felt this overwhelming sense of fear," Nunez told News Center Maine. Despite his injuries, Nunez forced himself to remain calm.  

"I just knew I had to keep mentally fighting," Nunez said. 

At the hospital, Nunez underwent hours of surgery for his broken right leg. As an avid runner and hiker, Nunez pleaded with surgeons to save his leg. But after 12 hours under the knife, doctors determined they needed to amputate. 

Those who knew Nunez best were worried about life after the amputation. 

"He's a physical guy," said Lt. Patrick Hood, troop commander. "For me, not having a lot of experience with amputees, [I thought] he can't lose that leg. That is not an option." 

But Nunez persevered through rehab and hard work. In 2021, Nunez returned to full-duty service and became the first amputee in Maine State Police history, according to the report. Nunez had to learn to drive with his left leg and pass each physical fitness test with his prosthetic. 

"I think I have always known that I am resilient, but I realize it is helpful to be that way, and I have become highly aware that it makes a difference to keep pushing on," Nunez said. 

And he’s not slowing down. Also in 2021, Nunez climbed Mt. Katahdin – known as the end point of the Appalachian Trail – with his prosthetic leg. He has since climbed Katahdin three more times, hiked Mount Washington and finished a Spartan race. 

Normally quiet on social media, Nunez says he wants to share his story to inspire others. 

"I am so grateful for all the people who have helped me to continue on this journey," Nunez said. 

The driver who hit Nunez, Robert Belmain, was charged with aggravated assault and sentenced to 15 years in prison, according to the report. 

 

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