Motorcyclist injured in crash hopes to inspire others after amputation

Gilberto Lopez, 20, makes 'amazing progress,' eager to get back to work

By Brittany Muller - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 20-year-old Jacksonville man has made a miraculous recovery after getting struck on his motorcycle nearly two months ago. 

Gilberto Lopez was only 2 miles from his Westside home Jan. 28 when he decided to make a quick run to the gas station. A truck hit Lopez at 103rd Street and Old Middleburg Road.

Doctors were forced to amputate his right leg.

Lopez at hospital

“When I came back to consciousness, I don’t remember hitting the truck,” Lopez said. “I lost my bike. I lost one of my legs. I can’t even open the door without having struggles, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s just a challenge; you can get through it.”

Lopez has kept a positive attitude and is inspiring others throughout his recovery. He spent time in rehab after several surgeries and an above-knee amputation. His doctor said he was missing bone and soft tissue in his knee.

“I think he’s been making amazing progress. He's been up and moving. Sometimes patients can have pain after these procedures, but his pain seems to be improving,” said Dr. Paul Baldwin with the orthopedic trauma and upper extremity team at Orange Park Medical Center's rehabilitation center.

Lopez works in construction, and he said he can’t wait to get back to work and hopes others will be inspired to work harder.

“It’s hard -- without a leg -- doing everything,” Lopez said. “Hopefully, they say, 'Wow, that guy -- that guy doesn’t have his leg and he’s doing heavy work. I want to do that work with two legs. That’s my goal -- for people to see me. I’m not going to hide this.”

Lopez will be fitted for a prosthetic leg later this month. He also hopes to come back to the rehabilitation center to share his story with others who are facing the difficult decision to amputate. 

“I can’t wait to be back on two feet now,” Lopez said. “It’s amazing to know that, 'Oh, you lost a leg, but you’re going to be back on two feet, back walking, finally being able to move both legs.'”

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