Date: May 11, 2021
(By Lisa Garrett)
Motocross Accident Victim Micah Traynham Defies Odds and Graduates with Business Management Degree
PENDLETON, SC --- From the age of nine, Micah Traynham never doubted that he would be a professional motocross racer.
“It was a lifestyle for me, not a sport,” said Traynham, who, until age 17, competed in races across the United States, including twice at the Loretta Lynn national motocross event. He obtained sponsorships, won awards, including the Top Gun Showdown, and continued to pursue the profession.
But his dream was cut short suddenly on April 13, 2014, when he was involved in a near-fatal crash at a competition in Tennessee. He was knocked unconscious and suffered a severe traumatic brain injury or TBI, in addition to breaking his shoulder blade, collar bone and two vertebrae in his neck and splintering his cuff. He coded twice at Bristol Hospital before surgery and remained in a medically-induced coma for nearly three weeks.
Initially the surgeon told his parents he wasn’t going to live to see the next morning. After surgery, the update was he would survive but would be in a vegetative state and confined to a wheelchair.
When he awakened three weeks later, Traynham knew his name but didn’t remember much else.
He did know he wouldn’t ever ride, much less compete, again. “With a TBI and facing years of extensive physical, speech and occupational therapy (at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta and Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital in Greenville) ahead of me, I never dreamed I could go to college one day,” he said.
Traynham, now 24, defied the odds and four-and-one-half years after enrolling in his first class at TCTC, he will receive a business management degree at spring commencement.
He calls himself “a living miracle.”
He says his determination was in overdrive at the Shepherd Center where therapists helped him to learn how to walk and talk again.
“I knew I couldn’t ride and compete anymore,” he said. He was at Roger C. Peace in therapy when he told his mother he wanted to go to college. His memory still wasn’t 100 percent but he was willing to give it a shot.
After he enrolled in classes at TCTC, he admits there were days when he had doubts. “Is it even possible to do this after what I’ve been through? Will I remember to take the tests?” I asked myself.
He started out at the Easley Campus with a small course load and transitioned to mostly online courses. “TCTC made it easy for me to go to school,” said Traynham. “The instructors and my advisor knew I had a TBI, and they understood. They gave me the benefit of the doubt and the tools I needed to be successful.”
He applied the same drive and determination to his recovery that he did to motocross competitions.
Shallin Williams, a business administration instructor who has been his academic advisor for the entire time he was a student at TCTC, says she admires his positive attitude.
“We always had face-to-face meetings several times a year. It was a one-hour drive from his home in Belton, but he always came to campus. He also stayed in touch outside of our advising appointments,” she said.
Traynham has taken all of his accounting courses online and maintained a 3.0, which is “impressive,” said Williams.
“During our initial advising meeting, I wondered how is he going to do this but it wasn’t long before I recognized his perseverance. After the first year, I said he is serious - he will do this. He learned how to be adaptive and he has done a great job. I’ve seen him grow and mature over the years. I’m so proud of him. His perseverance is enviable. He figures out a way to get things done. I wouldn’t hesitate to hire him,” she said.
Lauren McClellan, manager of the Accessibility Resource Center, says what stood out to her is Trayham’s self-awareness. “He understands his strengths and his weaknesses and owns them. He uses his strengths and never hesitates to ask for the help and support he needed to be successful. That made him a stronger student,” she said.
“He is so passionate in his perseverance and drive – it makes it easy to join him in his belief in himself and that he’ll reach his goals. He was committed to earning a degree and meeting the standards, even if it took a little bit longer. He used the tools he had and worked extremely hard. He did it,” she said.
“Lauren and Renee Green in the financial aid office have done so much for me. They understood and always reached out and gave me what I needed to succeed. TCTC helped me to get where I am now,” said Traynham.
About Tri-County Technical College
Tri-County Technical College, a public two-year community and technical college serving Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties in South Carolina, enrolls more than 9,000 students annually and offers more than 70 major fields of study, including computer technology, industrial electronics, mechatronics, nursing, and university transfer programs. Tri-County boasts the highest student success rate among two-year colleges in the state and ranks in the top one percent nationally for successful student transfers to four-year colleges and universities. To learn more, visit tctc.edu.