SSP Success Story: Rebuilding Your Life after a Tragic Accident
NAME: Mike Ferrantelli
GENDER : Male
LOCATION : New Port Richey, FL
Q: Have you always been an athlete?
Yes, I played football and baseball. When I was in 11th grade, I got into teenage bodybuilding. I was 129lbs at 5'6 playing Cornerback. I was a bit out matched as one day the Running back on my team who was 5'10, 215lbs literally ran right over me and left a cleat mark on my chest! I was eventually cut from the team.
My father, who was a nationally ranked Bodybuilder at the time encouraged me to workout saying it would open doors. With my fathers help, I started working out with a vengeance. By the time 12th grade rolled around, I was 145lbs with a 315lb bench. My coach, who had cut me from the team, offered me a spot back on the team under the pretenses that I would change my workout style. I did not want to deviate from my training, so I quit football and never looked back. From there, I went into Bodybuilding.
Q: What got you started in Bodybuilding?
In 1986, while working as a deputy detention officer in a jail, I got called into the sheriffs office. At age 19, I was freaking out because that was usually a bad thing. He had heard through the grapevine that I work out and wanted me compete in the Police Olympics in Florida for Powerlifting. I walked out wondering what the word "Powerlifting" meant.
Shortly after, I walked into a gym and saw a gentleman deadlifting not knowing what it was and asked the lifter what he was doing. As he was mid sentence, I walked away arrogantly. As it turned out, he was World Class Powerlifter, Kent Harriman. As Kent described the deadlift as a discipline in Powerlifting from a distance, I almost broke my neck turning around. This would be the genesis of Kent coaching me until his death in 1996.
Q: What are your accomplishments in Powerlifting?
- Global Level: 6 World Championships.
- 4 of which were in Powerlifting.
- 2 Bench Press World Championships.
- 3 Silver Medals in the World Championships.
- 1 Bronze Medal in the World Championship.
- Nominated for 11 World Championships, medaled in 10.
Around 2000, When Jeb Bush was governor of the state of Florida he gave me a gubernatorial appointment to be on the obesity task force for the state of Florida where we would discuss putting exercise back in the schools and change the nutritional aspect of the meals being served in the schools, making sure there were healthy options. I was flown up to Tallahassee every 2 weeks. It was very humbling and pretty moving.
We made sweeping change putting exercise back in the curriculum. Pasco County, the board of County Commissioners did a proclamation to put up signs coming into our county that said, "Welcome to Pasco County, home of Mike Ferrantelli, IPF Bench Press World Champion." This only happened twice in history, first for Jim Courier, who won Wimbledon in 1982. For me to be represented like this is beyond being humbled. I was speechless when they did the unveiling.
Q: Tell me about your motorcycle accident and recovery.
On August 21, 2016, I was riding my motorcycle with my wife and 2 kids. My 14 year old rode with me and my wife had our 9 year old on her bike. We were at an intersection when a woman failed to yield the right of way and hit us. We wound up in the hospital for 11 days. I had a broken right collar bone, a separated right shoulder, a torn labrum in my shoulder, I broke all my ribs on the right side, collapsed my right lung, and broke my right femur. My wife broke her elbow and her left knee in 2 places. My 14 year old broke and detached all ligaments in her left foot. My 9 year old had road rash but she has a lot of neck and back problems as we all do now. It's a very slow and difficult recovery. Everyone in the family is doing physical therapy.
I'm proud to say I'm able to go back to the gym to start training. Although I didn't attend the National Championship due to the accident, I was given a nomination to compete in the 2017 Bench Press World Championships in Lithuania. I discussed it with the US coach and because of the uncertainty with my condition, I'm currently training with only high repetitions. I'm benching very light weight and trying to test myself by going up in weight incrementally to see what my body can withstand.
Q: How is your mindset different now from before?
It's still the same. I have the same drive. I'm very cautious now because I have that fear of hurting myself more only because of the accident.
Q: How long have you been using SSP products?
Since Dennis developed it. He gave me samples of the SSP product line during production stages. I gotta tell ya, It's been a staple of my life ever since. It's been a staple during my recovery.
Q: Which products do you use?
I use PRE, POST, and LEAN MUSCLE MEAL. I had a laugh with Dennis once telling him that he really put a lot of thought into the names of the products (laughs). I even used to take Rest Day. My wife Kelly uses the products too. She is now not only my training partner but my coach.
Q: How do you find these products have helped you? What’s changed?
My energy level, my recuperation, and my intensity have all changed for the better. It's phenomenal. The taste also gets better with each generation. I recommend it to all athletes regardless of sport because of the above factors which help you get to the next level to overcome your competition, no matter what that competition is.
If you think you can or you think you can't, you're right- but SSP will never let you down.
Q: What are your goals now?
The goal now is to be able to complete in the 2017 World Championship but more than that be a healed, productive father and husband to my family.
Q: What message do you have for someone derailed by a tragic life experience who wants to get back to their training?
When you have something tragic that happens to you in your life, you have two choices: you can either consume it or let it consume you. I choose to consume it.