Denver Police Sergeant Makes A Comeback

April 29, 2024

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Make An Orthopedic Appointment:

Denver Health now allows patients to schedule appointments directly with orthopedic providers, skipping the need for a referral from a primary care doctor. However, certain insurance plans might still require a referral including Medicare and Medicaid. This change simplifies access to orthopedic care, ensuring you can get the orthopedic help you need without unnecessary delays. 

Watch Sgt. Justin Dodge's journey to recovery at Denver Health after his leg was run over by a fire truck.

The Accident

It was June 15, 2023, and people packed downtown Denver to celebrate the Denver Nuggets NBA world championship with a parade through downtown Denver. Amidst the chaos of the championship parade, Denver Police Sergeant Justin Dodge's life shifted dramatically as he found himself caught under the wheels of a fire truck carrying the players – the result of trying to keep the crowds back and protect them. Sgt. Dodge's life flashed before his eyes as his left leg became entangled under the truck. He recalls the moments the truck rolled over his leg, thinking, "If it gets to my knee, there is a chance I'm not going to live through this."

Sgt. Dodge was rushed to Denver Health with its internationally-recognized Level-One Trauma Center, his future remaining uncertain.

Justin Dodge workout

World-Renowned Expertise

The orthopedic trauma surgeons at Denver Health were quick to assess and save Sgt. Dodge and he knew this was the right place for him to be. "As a police officer for 27 years, we know if we're alive going through the doors of Denver Health, then they are going to pull us through and get us back to where we need to be," Sgt. Dodge said. He knew Denver Health is where he would get the best care with the best surgeons. The orthopedic surgeons at Denver Health thought critically about Justin's long-term future and how their decisions would affect his entire life.

He ended up needing a below the knee amputation.

Returning to the Denver Police Department

"So he's done outstandingly well, considering what he went through, both physically and mentally," said Cyril Mauffrey, MD, Denver Health Orthopedics director. "He was able to fit in modern prosthetics, and now he's training full steam with a professional athletic trainer."

Dr. Mauffrey has good reason to be proud of his patient. Sgt. Dodge has shown a resilience that is unmatched for such a serious and severe injury. His daily workout sessions rival even the most accomplished athletes and he shows a toughness and determination to get back to where he was before his injury.

He is now back on duty with the Denver Police department.

Justin Dodge workout
Sgt. Justin Dodge during one of his intense workouts at a local gym.

Looking to the Future

"The one thing that I really want people to know about Denver Health is that this is not just a trauma center," Sgt. Dodge said. "This is not just a safety net hospital. It is a full service hospital.

"They've taken me through the emergency part, up to working with me on all of the subsequent surgeries. Regardless of what is going on with me, when I come through the doors or something would happen to my family, Denver Health has the ability to take care of all of the problems.

"I know I'm going to get the best level of care with people that have the intention of getting me to where I want to be again.

"I can only imagine where I'm going to be in two months, and then in six months, and then in a year. It's because of Denver Health, my future is as much as I want to make of it."