Traynham earns business degree after near-fatal motocross accident
By Liv Osby
By the time he was 17, Micah Traynham had been racing motocross for eight years.
Every weekend there was a race somewhere around the country and the off-road motorcycle competitions - with their jumps, elevations and turns at speeds of up to 60 mph - had become a way of life, not just a pastime.
“It was not just a sport for me,” said Trayhnam, of Greenville.
“I liked the adrenaline rush,” he told Greenville Business Magazine. “I always drove myself forward. I always wanted to be successful.”
And he won numerous trophies for his efforts.
Then on April 13, 2014 at a race in Tennessee, he made a jump as he was coming into a turn and catapulted over the handlebars suffering a traumatic brain injury as well as breaking his shoulder blade, collar bone and two vertebrae in his neck.
The accident left him in a coma for almost three weeks with his future in doubt.
But on May 11, Traynham, who turns 25 in June, is graduating from Tri-County Technical College with a degree in business management.
“School wasn’t easy,” he said. “But a lot of my teachers … all came together and helped me. Without their help, I couldn’t have done it.”
Before the accident, Traynham had hoped to be a professional motocross racer. His parents took him all over the country from Nashville to Nevada to participate in as many as 45 races a year, homeschooling him along the way.
After the near-fatal accident, which he doesn’t remember, he was placed in a medically induced coma.
“In the hospital,” he said, “the surgeon told my parents I probably wouldn’t live.”
Once it was clear he would, his family was told that he’d likely be in a vegetative state confined to a wheelchair, he said.
But after many months of extensive physical, speech and occupational therapy at Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital in Greenville and the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, he set his sights on an education.
“I didn’t think about college when I first woke up,” he said. “But through therapy … I said I need to go to college and make something of myself. And that’s what I’ve done.”
He credits his mom for motivating him, and Lauren McClellan, manager of TCTC’s Accessibility Resource Center, for giving him the tools to reach his goals. She works with students who have some kind of disability or condition to put accommodations in place that help them succeed in college.
They include recording the class so the student can listen to the lecture again, advance copies of power points and notes to help them follow along, extended time to take tests, and working with financial aid so students can attend with a reduced course load, she said.
Students must meet the same standards, she said, just with some support.
“I tell faculty and students that it’s a lot like a wheelchair user getting a driver’s license,” she said. “They can achieve things other people are achieving, it just may be at a different pace or with different tools.”
“I spent four and a half years in college,” Traynham says. “I never failed a class, but I only took three classes a semester.”
Typically, the resource center works with 400 to 500 students each year, McClellan said.
Traynham says he still has some lingering effects from the accident, including a weak right arm, but he’s hoping to get a job as a manager. If it were in motocross, “that would be killer,” he said.
In the meantime, he plans to continue working for this father’s landscaping business, which helped him pay for college, and is getting married at the end of May.
McClellan says his positive attitude and persistence helped him through school and his contagious passion and drive would be a benefit to any employer.
“I think he will ultimately be extremely successful at whatever he wants to do,” she said. “He was not expected to survive and how he would be able to function was in question for quite a while as well. He had to relearn most of his skills - eating and walking and talking.
“He has come so far.”