SAN DIEGO — Spring Valley resident Mike Spivey is a two-time Paralympian snowboarder. It's an extraordinary accomplishment in it's own right. What is more extraordinary however, is how sergeant Mike Spivey got to this point.
Spivey joined the United States Marine Corps as a combat engineer in 2005. Five years later, on his second deployment, Mike was searching for IEDs in Afghanistan. "The sun was going down and I just made a mistake that I usually didn't make, and that was to cross one of their homemade bridges made out of just a single log across the canal," said Spivey.
It was December of 2010 and Mike Spivey's life was about to change forever. "...as soon as I stepped off the other side, everything went black. I remember kind of hitting the ground. Looking down, my arm was covered in blood, I could see bone sticking out. I immediately reached up I grabbed my tourniquet started trying to get it tight."
The blast resulted in the serious injuries to his legs, lower back, and his left arm, which eventually was amputated.
Mike eventually transferred back to San Diego where he began his long rehab process. During his recovery Mike was introduced to the Semper Fi & America's Fund. "They do anything from helping out the families whenever you first get injured to helping you get back integrated into sports, so that you can try to figure out how to live with your disabilities."
It would be that integration into sports that helped him not live with his disabilities, but likely live it all. "I noticed that whenever I was on the (golf) course or I was surfing...instead of having a backpack full of medication that they had us on, I was able to sleep at night without taking 10 pounds of medication and washing it down with a fifth of whiskey or rum or anything like that.
From there Mike found his next calling. "One of the things was through the Semper Fi Fund was to go out on a snowboard trip. It was the first time I'd ever snowboarded." Not only was it the first time Mike had ever been on a snowboard but Spivey was born in Abilene, Texas. "There's almost no water there's definitely not any snow where I'm from," he said.
Mike would go from rookie rider to snow shredder and began riding with several other veterans. With help from the Semper Fi & America's Fund, Mike got the training and equipment he needed to compete at a high level. In 2018, he rode for Team USA’s snowboarding team in the PyeongChang Paralympic Games. Most recently he competed in the Beijing Paralympics on the United States snowboard team once again.
"I'm proud of the stuff that I've been able to accomplish and overcome since becoming an amputee...Never in my like my wildest dreams or imagination would have ever thought that I would have gone from here to where I am now."
Mike says he will likely try for a third Paralympics but this time for surfing.
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