Interviews: Mike Vincent "Back on Track" interview

2010/8/31 6:30:00 (4642 reads)
Hey Mike, it's been a while but we'd like to check in with you to see how you're doing. For those who don't know you or who haven't heard about your accident, can you fill them in real quick what happened so they're up to speed for the rest of the interview?
Mike Vincent:
Well, just over 2 1/2 years ago my life was turned upside down. As many of you know, I was hit by a car while riding my bike in Los Angeles. I was in the bike lane and the girl that hit me actually drove into the bike lane. She threw me 30 feet. I was hospitalized for 6 months, then went for out-patient therapy for another 4 months. Two months after the accident, I completely lost my vision in both eyes. I had four brain surgeries, lung surgery, a trach, a feeding tube, numerous broken bones and two eye surgeries. I racked up over $3.5M in medical expenses in California alone. The girl that hit me had $100K insurance, which the State of CA had a lien on. So, my life was stripped from me and she didn't get cited and only had to experience higher insurance premiums.

Now you, your mother, family and your friends have tried several ways to get your vision back. There were good hopes, you even made a trip to China, did any of it help in any way?
Mike Vincent:
We went to China last year, for stem cell treatments, but I have not had any results. They just didn't work for me. Since then, we've been trying to find a doctor that can actually help me. I'm going to the top traumatic brain injury specialist in Virginia but he hasn't been any help. He doesn't follow through on things. We found out a year ago (18 mos. after my accident) that I was exposed to 8 times the amount of radiation during brain CT scans. I had 13 scans, so I had enough radiation to kill a person. I believe that's what took my eyesight and my sense of smell and taste. This doctor is supposed to be talking to colleagues to determine what can be done to help me. I want to get my life back!

You have visited several BMX events since. How do you experience these days out in the field?
Mike Vincent:
It's really great to hang out and talk with so many of my friends. It's also very painful, though, to not be a part of the event. It really makes me appreciate the BMX scene and my friends even more. I really just want to get my life back on track and be a part of the events, whether it's judging or coordinating the events.

I recently went to York, PA for the 20th Annual York Jam. I remember going to the very first York Jam, and most every one since then! It was really cool to be there and hang out with some of my friends. My friend, Brett Downs, brought an extra BMX bike and let me ride it (an FBM bike). We rode together in the parking lot and I even tried doing a few tricks! That was an awesome feeling to be on the bike again! I got to hang out with Brett, Leif Valin, Keith King and even Kevin Jones. Kevin's wife pointed me out to Kevin, when I was riding the bike. She told him that I'm blind and he said "no way can a blind guy ride like that!" He rode his bike to catch up to Brett and me to see for himself!

Do you try to follow the BMX scene in any way or do you have other interests now that you spend a lot of time on?
Mike Vincent:
I try to follow all of BMX, listening to the X-Games and Dew Tours on TV, or getting updates from friends. Some of my friends call and email me, and we talk about the BMX scene.

Would you be into telling your story and the safety aspect of wearing a helmet at schools and such?
Mike Vincent:
Yeah, definitely. Almost a year ago, I spoke to a group of young cub scouts about bicycle safety. They were having their bike rodeo. These kids were 5-7 years old, and brought their younger siblings along with them. I told my story about being able to travel all over the world, and then about my accident. I told them that I was NOT wearing a helmet when I was hit by the car. My mom and I did a little demonstration using round watermelons. I had my mom drop one from about 5 feet in the air, and it splattered all over the ground. She strapped the second one in a bike helmet and dropped damage at all. I told the kids to always strap their helmet to their handlebars so they would be sure to put it on when they hop on their bike. After my speech was over, one of the younger brothers who was 3 years old said "Mommy, Mommy, if I don't wear a hat my head will go SPLAT!" That tells you that they got the message!

I'm trying to get contacts at various helmet companies to do some endorsements. The key is that I was NOT wearing a helmet when I had my accident. I'm adamate about getting the word out.

You've got some cool T-shirts out. Where can people go to buy them to help you with your medical bills?
Mike Vincent:
For sure. The t-shirts say "Mike V Back on Track" and they can be ordered at: for $15.00 each, which includes shipping. All proceeds go towards my ongoing medical expenses. I really appreciate all the help I can get.

Anything you want to add to wrap this up?
Mike Vincent:
I really appreciate all the support from the BMX Community and my friends all over the world. I hope to have my own website designed in the next couple months. It will reflect my life before the accident, in the hospital and my life now, with pictures, etc.

We're also filming a video documentary about my whole ordeal. Jennifer Reed, from Chicago, plans to produce it through her company, Blondetourage Productions. I've had interviews with Mat Hoffman, Kevin Robinson and many others. Just hoping to end the video with a HAPPY ending, with my life back on track!

BMX has been my life for over 25 years. I want to give back to all those who have helped me.

Thanks to fatbmx for wanting to do this interview and keep my story alive. I try to remain positive. It really helps knowing there are so many supporters out there!
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