Paralympic snowboarder finds success on and off the slopes
(PYEONCHANG, South Korea) — By his own calculations, Paralympic snowboarder Michael Schultz, aka “Monster Mike,” is having “one heck of an adventure.”
The 36-year-old St. Cloud, Minnesota native won gold in the snowboard-cross event at the 2018 World Para Snowboard Championships Tuesday and is setting his sights on his first Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
And when he is not busy tearing down the mountains, he’s running his company, BioDapt Inc., which develops high-performance prosthetic equipment for lower-limb amputees.
How this adventure all came to be, according to Schultz, is “kind of nuts.”
In 2008, Schultz was a professional snowmobile racer and at the peak of his career. Racing in a competition in Michigan, Schultz was thrown from his vehicle and landed on his leg. He suffered a compound fracture that severed the nerve and main artery in his left leg. Doctors tried to save the limb but were forced to amputate.
“When I originally started looking at different prosthetic components, most of them were just set up for walking. … With these sports, these action sports like the motocross and snowmobiles and the snowboarding, that knee has to have resistance in it to carry your weight. … It needs to absorb that and spring back,” he said. “And there were a couple of different sport legs available but they didn’t have the range of motion that I needed to ride my dirt bike.”
In 2010, Schultz’s garage and shop tinkering became a full-fledged company called BioDapt.
BioDapt’s products now include a Moto Knee, which he uses, as well as a Versa Foot. More than 100 wounded soldiers, extreme athletes, cancer survivors and amputees now use his products.
“We’re helping out all kinds of other athletes and veterans getting back into action with their sports and activities,” he said. “That’s why I put so much time into our company and the equipment … It’s for the reaction we get from others that are chasing down their dreams too.”
And as his company has grown, so has Schultz as an athlete. Since 2010 or so, he’s taken up snowboarding and excelled. He’s been training and racing in preparation for the Paralympic Games this year.
“You know, ultimately [the injury] got me back into sports I loved to do and a new one — snowboarding, Paralympic snowboarding, (snowboard)-cross and banked slalom,” he said.
Eight years ago, Schultz said, he’d never have thought he’d be traveling the world as a pro snowboarder — and even better, competing against others who use his equipment.
“Snowboarding has taken me so many different places,” said Schultz, who was even featured on Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes box. “It’s kind of crazy how one thing can lead to another if you keep your eyes open to it.”
“I just want to find out what the district lines are,” Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., told ABC News.
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