“Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got.”
–Art Buchwald, American humorist and United States Marine Corps veteran, 1942–1945
At 22 years old, Mike Savicki was training to become a Navy F-14 pilot when he dove into the waters off Pensacola Beach, Fla., and suffered a C6 spinal cord injury resulting in quadriplegia. End of story.
For some maybe. But Savicki’s storied life had just begun.
In 1991, after eight months of rehabilitation at the then Brockton West Roxbury VA Medical Center, Savicki entered his first National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Miami, Fla. Twenty-three years later, Savicki is still competing, and this week in Tampa, Fla., marked his 22nd appearance at the Games. A standout high school and college athlete, Savicki says he turned to sports as part of his rehabilitation from his injury.
“Sports were more fun than staying in bed feeling sorry for myself,” he writes on his website.
Since his injury, the former Navy officer received an MBA from Duke University and gave the commencement address at his graduation ceremony. He completed the Boston Marathon several times, competed as a member of the national quad rugby team for a spot on the 2004 US Paralympics team, finished the 70-mile Beach to Battleship Half Ironman triathlon in 2009 and earned a bronze medal with the Navy team at the 2010 Warrior Games.
“I like to spend my days discovering the wonder, excitement, marvel and beauty of life,” he says.
Savicki’s accomplishments reach beyond the rugby courts and racetracks as well. In 2008, he founded his business Scratching Post Solutions. He received the 2011 Distinguished Achievement Award from Tufts University. He is also a freelance writer, and has profiled numerous athletes, politicians, celebrities and artists. In 2012, Savicki became the spokesperson for National Mobility Awareness Month.
During the Games, he mentors fellow veterans and wheelchair athletes, sharing his experience and knowledge of adaptive sports with them.
Congratulations to Mike Savicki, the 33rd National Veterans Wheelchair Games’ Spirit of the Games Award recipient.
Learn more about the National Veterans Wheelchair Games