Rousselle’s road to recovery

Since losing his left hand and right leg almost four years ago, Mike Rousselle has battled back along a remarkable road to recovery.

  • Sep. 18, 2013 7:00 a.m.

Mike Rousselle and wife Brett pose with children Boston and Jonas (left). Rousselle lost his left arm and right leg after being electrocuted on the job as a power contractor in 2009.

Arne Petryshen

Townsman Staff

Since losing his left hand and right leg almost four years ago, Mike Rousselle has battled back along a remarkable road to recovery.

Since that time, the Cranbrook resident has returned to his job, and has been featured in “Return to Work: The Mike Rousselle Story,” a WorkSafeBC short that can be viewed on YouTube.

Rousselle will also be doing presentations for WorkSafeBC.

On Nov. 26, 2009, while working on a transformer on a power pole in the Hartley Lake area near Fernie, Rousselle came into contact with a loose live wire above him.

Rousselle said he doesn’t remember most of the week surrounding the electrocution.

“The pole had a really sloppy jumper wire that goes across,” he said. “When I went up there I either made contact or it came down and contacted me.”

The other worker had his back to him. Rousselle was electrocuted. He was brought to the Fernie Hospital then airlifted to Calgary.

“I spent a few nights there,” he said. “They amputated my arm that night and a week later, after about seven surgeries, they amputated my leg above the knee.“

He was released from the hospital after two months, but stayed another month for rehab then went to Vancouver to continue rehab. After a year there he was having problems with his right limb and had to go back for another surgery. About six months after that he was back working, at first doing scheduling, then working his way to becoming foreman for the company, Arctic Arrow Power Contracting, formerly Arrow Installations.

His wife Brett supported him through the difficult time.

“She has been amazing, she kind of knows when to push me and when I need a break,” he said. “When I was in rehab I wasn’t doing too many activities.”

Brett suggested that he start swimming.

“She pushed me long enough and finally I ended up swimming laps and turned out I was a pretty descent swimmer with only one arm and one leg,” he said.

They have three kids: Boston, 11 months old, Jonas, four years old and Montana, nine years old.

“She looks after them and me at the same time, so it’s pretty amazing,” he said.

Rousselle said he has even gone back in the bucket a couple times to do the odd small job, and because he has no memory of the incident, he doesn’t feel a fear of being in the same circumstances.

“I’m lucky that way,” he said.

He just got a new prosthetic leg this summer. The new model is enhanced by a computer chip that monitors stability through five sensors.

The model was covered by WorkSafe since Rousselle is at work and also in the field.

“Because we’re contractors, we do a lot of the rural area jobs and I’m out on uneven ground or hills,” he said. “So I was pretty fortunate WorkSafe supplied it for me because of the work I do.”

He said that’s one of the big reasons the special prosthetic was covered since he is missing his left arm. He said the prosthetic leg is quite an expensive one.

Rousselle can also use a snowmobile. At first he found it to be too much work, but WorkSafe modified it with a special brake. His prosthetic arm clips in to the handlebars as well for steering.

“The same setup I have for the snowmobile, I have for my mountain bike,” he said . He has another prosthetic leg that allows him to do water sports like wake-boarding.

“Return to Work: The Mike Rousselle Story,” a WorkSafeBC video can be viewed at


Just Posted

Sushi, sake and silk kimono

“The Kimono of Ichimaru” opening night at Fernie Museum attracts sellout crowd

Mexico-bound Tour Divide riders complete first day, pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

Convicted B.C. child abductor Randall Hopley back in custody, 6 months since release

Correctional Services Canada could not provide further details due to privacy concerns

New society to spearhead ramp building project in Fernie

Gracie Lou Foundation launches to make Fernie more inclusive; ramp building event slated for June 22

GALLERY: Week-long Coal Miner Days a huge success

Skate jam set to become a permanent fixture of Coal Miner Days; other events well attended

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Elk Valley Bulls RFC reclaim Kootenay Cup

Elk Valley beats Cranbrook 7-5 to win Kootenay Cup; team off to provincials in September

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

Most Read