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      The long road back

      It should have been a happy time. A husband and wife cruising the roads of the U.P. last fall. But it wasn't.

      A pick-up truck pulled in front of their motorcycle on US-41 in Skandia. They slammed headlong into it. Their bodies were thrown violently into the truck, then to the ground.

      Forty-four-year-old Mike Ryan should have been killed in the accident, but thanks to quick medical attention, he survived...just barely.

      "The accident was October 12, but I don't remember anything a month before or two months afterward," explained Mike.

      Mike's recovery has been slow, but steady. His vision was damaged, his thought processes, after a two month coma, were compromised. But he's back on his feet again and his father, Don, along with his entire family and the medical team, are working to bring him back.

      Mike's psychologist, Dr. Julianne Kirkham, has been treating him for a year.

      "There's something about Mike's spirit that says 'I won't give up'," said Kirkham.

      And he's working hard at it every day.

      Trying to regain his balance, his motor skills, his vision, Mike's been an avid hunter for decades. Now, he's not allowed to use a rifle, just a crossbow. But his intense concentration is still there.

      When we visited Mike, he shot a bullseye with his bow. There's no doubting his skill. Still, he's not the outdoorsman he once was. He knows it. He can see it in the photographs from his past.

      "In some ways, I'm angry that I've been in this horrible situation. In other ways, I'm grateful that I'm still here," Mike stated.

      Above all, he's grateful for his wife Sonya, who was also hurt in the accident, but not as severely as Mike. She knows what they've lost as a couple; their happy, normal life. She's spent the last year tending to him.

      "If it wasn't for her, I don't think I'd be alive. She helps me from the time I get up in the morning until the time I fall asleep at night."

      But slowly, one day at time, one step at a time, he's retrieving his independence. He barely escaped death a year ago. Now he wants his full life back.