“Find someone that you like hanging out with that has been through it. That alone can be a challenge, but keep an open mind.”
Jake Ousley has always loved the outdoors. So when a couple of friends asked him to spend the day on the water, he didn’t hesitate to join them.
The plan was to ride some jets skis out to a pontoon where other friends waited. They decided to take some water toys with them, but had trouble fitting them all on the jet skis. So, they decided to pull one of the toys, an empty tube, behind them.
The slack from the tube’s ropes lay coiled under Jake’s foot, and that’s when tragedy struck. They hit the large wake from another boat, and that flung Jake from the jet ski. His foot became tangled in the rope, resulting in it becoming severed.
In the immediate aftermath, Jake’s friends said he remained calmer than them. He instructed them on how to make a tourniquet for his leg, which he learned through his training as a guide at the Wilderness Ranch in Colorado.
In order to fit in his prosthesis, Jake had to have additional parts of his leg removed. Later the leg became infected and he had to have more surgery done on it. Once he received his prosthesis, however, he became excited at how much of his mobility he would regain.
Within 2 months after being fitted, Jake ran two 5K races.
“I think I came in a little hot, but Matt [Bulow] was encouraging to say ‘if you feel like you can do it, do it. Just don’t hurt yourself.’ I liked that and took that to heart,” he said.
Other things were overwhelming.
“Even the smallest detail like, how do I wash my liner is another thing on your list of things to figure out as a new amputee,” he said.
Jake first came to Bulow because his friend from church, Carter, works here. He also heard many good things from other amputees.
“I also went with Matt because no one else seems to understand what it was like to lose a leg as much as he did,” he said.
The advice he gives to new amputees is to not try to do it alone.
“Find someone that you like hanging out with that has been through it. That alone can be a challenge, but keep an open mind,” he said.