In September last year, Michael Griffith met with a tragic accident. He was riding his bike on the way home from practice when he collided with a car. At that point of time, his injuries were so severe that it wasn’t known if he would be able to survive, let alone get into a pool again. Now, six months after the incident, he is set to compete for the Lakers starting on Wednesday at the NCAA Division II men’s swimming and diving championship in Birmingham, Alabama.
“I cracked my head open, bit through part of my tongue, broke my (left) shoulder and ribs and got cut up pretty good from all the broken glass. I also had a pretty bad concussion. I guess I didn’t think it was that bad. One of my teammates stopped and told me I was trying to get back up and go to my apartment. After the ambulance came, I was pretty much coherent for about 20 minutes, but couldn’t remember the date or month. Pretty quickly after that, I went unconscious,” recalled Michael, a junior four-time all-American on the Grand Valley State swim team. While he was on the way to the hospital, the paramedics put him on life support. He was straight away admitted into the critical condition unit.
Aside from all the injuries he suffered, Michael also suffered from an epidural hematoma, which is a type of traumatic brain injury where bleeding occurs in the inside of the skull. “(Doctors) told me they had only ever seen a couple people survive from an accident and injuries like that. They told me I had about an hour before my brain went into a vegetative state and only about an hour and a half before all brain function shut down,” he explained. He spent a total of more than two weeks in the hospital alone before returning home to rest for an entire week.
According to physical therapists at the hospital, his shoulder injury would require at least nine months to a year of rehabilitation. However, after a week at home, he was back to school and into the pool. He still did suffer from some post-concussion symptoms and lingering aches from his bruised lung and cracked ribs though. “He’s had a great attitude about it. Right from the beginning, he was talking about getting back to the team. We gave him a standing ovation when he came through the door. It’s great to see him come as far as he has. He bounced back pretty quickly and didn’t have much trouble at all. (The shoulder) is everything in swimming. Every stroke comes from the shoulder. You’re going to feel it every stroke,” stated Andy Boyce, his swimming coach. For the full story, check it out here.
There are many individuals who are unaware that swimming is a form of therapy as well. Perhaps this is another reason why Michael was able to have a speedy recovery. For those interested in picking up swimming in Singapore, check out Happy Fish Swim School. We have a variety of swimming lessons available for each and all.