Mikey Stolzenberg is a 12-year-old boy from Florida who was born seemingly healthy and with all his limbs in tact. He remained that way until a freak infection cost him his arms and legs when he was eight years old. Stolzenberg scratched a mosquito bite when he was playing football, and that led to a bacterial infection called Chromobacterium Violaceum that left his body in septic shock two days later. An immune deficiency called Chronic Granulomatous Disease is what left him susceptible to the infection. In order to save his life, all of Stolzenberg’s limbs had to be amputated.
“I was grateful I still had Michael,” Michael’s mother Laura Stolzenberg told Lacrosse Magazine. “We had him, now we just had to rebuild him. …
“Michael embraces his difference. We told him, ‘Your hands and feet do not define who you are.’”
Four years later, he is somehow playing lacrosse. Stolzenberg chose to use arm extensions called sockets rather than prosthetic arms, which he thought were too limiting. With the sockets, he has been able to learn how to do things like write and eat. As for lacrosse, well, Mikey scored three goals in a tournament last week.
“It seems impossible,” Pine Crest (Fla.) High lacrosse coach Doug Shanahan, who watched Stolzenberg play, told Lacrosse Magazine. “But you know it’s possible because you’ve seen him do it. He has more skill, given his circumstances, than a lot of other kids.
“His hand-eye coordination, without having normally functioning hands, is incredible. The way he moves to the ball, even with prosthetics, is more athletic than many other kids. He’s mentally tough, and his work ethic is contagious. He wants to be better than his brothers.”
Shanahan coaches Mikey’s older brothers at Pine Crest, one of whom is a junior and a Division I prospect. With how far Mikey has come since losing his arms and legs, you’d be just plain stupid to tell him he has no chance of getting there.
Thanks to Prep Rally for sharing the story with usGoogle+