In the realm of sports, athletes train to get better for the next game, meet, or competition. They have a regime. A plan.
For Skyler Mikesell, captain of TMU men’s track and field team, not much was different. Finishing third in the Golden State Athletic Conference in Rocklin, CA for TMU’s cross country team last fall and helping his team earn their 8th straight GSAC title that same weekend, Mikesell appeared to be in a good place for his final spring track season as a Mustang.
“He was captain of the men’s team and was a great leader and role model for all his teammates,” said freshman V.J. Dayawa, who is also a member of the track team. “He went to Nationals for three years in a row, including his freshman year, which is pretty impressive.”
But going into the spring track and field season, in February, Skyler Mikesell was in a devastating motorcycle accident that left him unable to run, compete, or finish his last year of track for TMU.
Mikesell was riding on Railroad Ave, approaching a traffic light. The car in front of him was already close to the intersection when the light turned yellow, so he assumed the car would go for it.
But, instead, the car braked, and Mikesell ran into the right side of the car’s bumper, hit his left leg and blacked out.
With an incredibly damaged leg, and severe pain that continues to give him blackouts, it was pretty clear that Mikesell’s running career was over for the time being.
“God gave me peace,” Mikesell said in an interview with TMU junior, Rylee Bishop. “I was able to tell the paramedics ‘I’m alive, so God is good. This is God’s planning for my life.’”
Mikesell’s first race of the season would have been the next day. While he felt calm about the situation, Mikesell felt like he was letting the team down as their team captain. His coach, Zach Schroeder told him to cut out the what-ifs.
“Future fear and anxiety don’t have a place in the believer,” Mikesell said.
Several surgeries and procedures later, he is doing better. Mikesell had to get titanium in his knee, and he has metal holding his hip together. Throughout his recovery, professors and teammates have visited him often.
“Having people there really got me through the hours in the hospital,” Mikesell said.
Throughout his injury, Mikesell maintained his testimony and praised God through all of it. He says he kept reminding himself that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, but He is always worthy of praise.
Mikesell is attending physical therapy sessions now and has been staying with his coach and his wife for about a month now, until he can walk again. He is incredibly grateful for the generosity and hospitality of his coach and his coach’s family for taking him in.
“Skyler’s character and desire to please his Savior have really shone in the face of such an immense trial. Losing an a seven-time national qualifier, All-American, and team captain to a motorcycle accident has been one of the most difficult obstacles our men’s team has ever had to overcome,” said Coach Zach Schroeder. “But God has given us the grace to walk through this challenge. I believe God has used this to strengthen all of us. Skyler has been a huge encouragement to me and our team, and it has been a joy for all of us to walk through this time with him.”
Just recently, Mikesell has started attending classes and hopes to go to all the track meets from here on out. He went to the meet in San Francisco and enjoyed seeing his teammates compete again.
“I would love to run again, but goals for now are just to get strong again and finish my role as team captain and be that support role as best as I can,” Mikesell said. “ Another goal for me is to walk across the stage without aid. I want to finish school with excellence.”