Michael Lois and his parents, Matt and Hayley, stand in front of their home Monday night. Eight days earlier, Michael fractured three vertebrae in his neck in a swimming pool accident. (Mike Ramczyk photo)

Star Elkhorn football player back home after life-altering accident

By Mike Ramczyk

Sports Editor

Sitting around their wooden kitchen table, Matt and Hayley Lois are grateful and thankful on a foggy, mild Monday evening.

They allude to acts of God and throw around words like miracle when talking about their son, Michael, 16.

Matt and Hayley are the kind of people who would give the shirt off their backs to a stranger without hesitation. Matt works for the City of Elkhorn and Hayley is a social worker for Walworth County.

It’s this deep-rooted sense of helping others that’s been passed down to Michael, a tall, hulking man-child with the wisdom of someone decades older.

Just two weeks ago, Michael was having a blast, as he and a few fellow Elkhorn varsity football players visited West Side Elementary school to spend some time with kids who idolized the athletes.

Michael read books and even played basketball against children who thought he was in the NFL.

While that dream still exists for Michael, a 2020 University of Iowa commit, it was drastically altered only a few days after his elementary school visit.

And suddenly, a mom and a dad who dedicate their lives to the service of others needed a level of help they couldn’t imagine.

 

A tragic Sunday

On Sunday, Sept. 16, Michael was hanging out at a friend’s house just north of Elkhorn, roughly 15 minutes from the Lois home, which is off Highway H on the south side of the city.

On a hot and humid day, Lois and friends decided to take a dip in the pool, and they wanted to incorporate a large trampoline.

So they placed the trampoline next to the pool and were going to jump into the pool and land on a raft.

Michael, all 6-foot-4, 260 pounds of him, leapt high into the air and descended upon the 4-foot deep pool.

His plan to land on a raft missed entirely, as his jump forced his body to contort in the air and send his head and shoulders into the water first.

The back of Michael’s head, his neck and shoulder crashed to the pool floor, and he immediately knew something was wrong. He popped back above the water, then quickly sank under again. That’s when Sage Rushing had to pull his friend up to safety.

“Me and Sage jumped two or three times, and the third one got me,” Michael said Monday at his home, wearing a large neck brace. “I was going forward a little too much and missed the floatie, and the back of my head went right to the bottom of the pool.”

“I over-rotated, and as soon as my head hit the bottom, everything stopped and time was slow. I couldn’t move my left leg, so I’m struggling to get my head out of the water, and when I could, I was yelling ‘Help!’ Then, Sage got me to the edge of the pool, and I was like ‘Dude, I can’t move my arms.’”

Read the complete story, including how the community and area football teams are supporting Lois in the Sept. 27 Elkhorn Independent.

 
 

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