Inspiring Patient: Mike Fritschner

Mike Fritschner

During a surfing lesson while on a family vacation in 2006, Mike Fritschner felt something ‘pop’ in his back. When he paddled to shore and tried to stand, his legs collapsed. Unbelievably, he was paralyzed. Doctors later told him a simple overarch of his back had caused a rare spinal cord injury known as “surfer’s myelopathy.” He was told he would never walk again.

Then he came to Kennedy Krieger. "Suddenly, the conversation went from 'you can't' to 'why not?'" Mike recalls. Since then, he has made incredible mental and physical gains and is accomplishing things many thought were impossible.

Using a hand cycle loaned to him by the Institute’s International Center for Spinal Cord Injury, Mike has competed in the Baltimore Running Festival Marathon and the Los Angeles Marathon while raising money for the Institute.

"Using the hand cycle has granted me greater independence and improved health, and it’s a great way to spend time with friends and family,” he says. “This was all made possible by Kennedy Krieger—a place that has forever changed my life and countless others lives.”

In March, Mike completed his third marathon in Los Angeles. It’s not too late to show your support for this inspiring young man. Visit