In March 2009, while attending his Senior year at University of Vermont, Michael suffered a traumatic brain injury while competing in a quarter pipe championship. Michael was in a coma for many weeks and spent the next year in a rehab hospital recovering in the gym, the pool, and the recumbent bike. Michael has gained back most of his living skills and is enjoying growing his custom sock business El SchwarEZ Designs. The Winter Empowerment Fund has purchased him Bioness L300 Foot Drop Systems and paid for Acupuncture sessions and to help him with his walking. Recently, the Winter Empowerment Fund purchases a Hippocampe All Terrain Wheelchair for Michael to have even more freedom.