Marian University triple amputee cyclist on a comeback ride

Moise Brutus (WTHR photo)

25-year-old Moise Brutus needs a little extra time to prepare for his stationary bike cycling workout at the Paul J. Norman Cycling Center on the Marian University campus. Brutus is a triple amputee, his right leg gone just below the knee, left leg above the knee, left arm below the elbow. Brutus swaps his prosthetic legs made for walking for another pair made specifically for bike riding.

"Instead of wasting time thinking about what I can't do, I find ways to do the things that I want to do," said Brutus, a freshman on Marian's national powerhouse cycling team.

"His desire to make the most of all situations is inspiring,” said Dean Peterson, Marian's cycling coach. “It always hits me to hear him speak the way he does with the positive attitude that he has."

Brutus appears to be on short stilts as he walks from bench to the stationary bike, climbs on and locks his prosthetic “feet” into the pedals. His left prosthetic arm grabs the handlebar with a vise like “hand”.

"When people first meet me, it's always like 'Oh my gosh! Can't believe, and you're on the cycling team, oh my gosh! Marian too, oh my gosh!'” said Brutus. “But after five minutes of us just talking, my disability or my prosthetics, all that goes out the window."

Brutus riding a bicycle might be one of the last things you would expect to see, especially when you find out he lost both legs and his left arm on two wheels. A Sunday motorcycle ride in his hometown of Miami in October 2010 changed his life.

"I remember waking up in a ditch by myself,” said Brutus. “I remember taking my helmet off. I remember seeing just two bones out of [my left arm]; just this [left] leg is gone. This [right] leg kind of looked like a pretzel."

Brutus suffered through two years of deep depression. He began riding a stationary bike as physical therapy, but wound up taking laps at a Miami velodrome and finding freedom.

"I kind of look at that period as sort of my mid-life crisis,” said Brutus. “Honestly, I think that whatever it is that life throws at me now, I don't think it would be as hard as dealing with that."

A mutual acquaintance introduced Brutus and Peterson, which led to Brutus enrolling at Marian and now racing at the Major Taylor Velodrome.

"The shock value is pretty high,” said Peterson. “Then I think it's another step back and people are going, 'That's amazing. That is absolutely amazing!' And it is."

Brutus is a double business major in accounting and finance, while hoping to qualify for next year's Paralympic Games in Brazil.

"It's doable,” said Peterson. “It's going to come from him as a student-athlete. I say that a lot, student-athlete. But there are two things going on there. That balance, and trying to learn how to handle both and still achieve your hopes and dreams, is the game."

"It really has gotten bigger than me,” said Brutus. “I don't really think about it like that, because it's just a lot of pressure. But I'm doing this to show everybody out there that you can do anything you put your mind to."

No legs, one arm, two wheels have turned into powerful perseverance.

"I almost didn't make it,” said Brutus. “Every day I think about that. I feel really blessed. Even though I have some limitations, pretty much I'm able to do whatever I want."

Brutus is one of four Indiana student-athletes who will receive the Brady Sports Achievement Award for their inspiring comebacks. The other winners are Kourtni "Kat" Taylor (University of Evansville), Dylan Shumaker (Bremen High School) and Abigayle Burns (Carroll Jr. and Sr. High School). They will be honored at the 10th Annual Brady Sports Achievement Awards on Thursday, April 16, at 7:00 p.m. at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in downtown Indianapolis. WTHR is a proud sponsor of the event.

The Brady Sports Achievement Awards were established by the Methodist Sports Medicine Research and Education Foundation and are sponsored by Physicians Rehab Solution to honor four Indiana student-athletes who have overcome injury or hardship.

In addition, the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) will present the C. Eugene Cato Memorial Scholarship Awards. Thirteen Hoosier scholar-athletes are recognized for academic accomplishments and hard work and dedication within their chosen sport in honor of the former IHSAA commissioner.

To conclude the award presentation, Indiana sports legends will be recognized for their long-time professional accomplishments within the field of athletics. This year's Lifetime Achievement Award recipients are Quinn Buckner, who captained Indiana's undefeated 1976 NCAA basketball champions, and Coach Lou Holtz, who led Notre Dame Football to its last national championship in 1988. Proceeds from the event and the silent auction will help to support the Methodist Sports Medicine Research and Education Foundation.

For more information, call (317) 817-1258 or click here for more from Methodist Sports Medicine.