Michael Lois staying competitive through basketball

Photo courtesy of Michael Lois.

By Tyler Devine

IOWA CITY, Iowa – If there was ever a question that Michael Lois’ competitive nature waned after a horrific accident that jeopardized his football career, the answer is a resounding “no”.

Two weeks after Lois verbally committed to Iowa last September, he took a dive from a trampoline into friend’s pool and hit his head on the bottom.

The dive resulted in three broken vertebrae and the fear that Lois would never walk again.

Just over a year after the accident, the Elkhorn, Wis. native has begun working out with his high school basketball team for the first time since eighth grade to satiate his competitive desire.

“I guess you could call it (a consolation prize),” Lois said. “I haven’t had anything with competition in a while, so I’m starting to get that itch and I need something to scratch, so basketball is perfect. It’s kind of aggressive and I used to play when I was younger. It’s just something I can do.”

There is perhaps nothing more telling of Lois' love of football than what he told the ambulance driver after the accident.

"When I was in the ambulance right there after the accident, I told the driver of the ambulance he had to hurry up because I had a football game that Friday, and they were like, ‘You’re going to have to sit that one out, bud’," Lois said.

Before he realized he had a potential future playing football, the 6-foot-4, 260-pound Lois wanted to be a Navy SEAL.

That mentality, along with support from friends and family, aided in Lois’ miraculous recovery.

It also helped to keep him from having a "woe-is-me" attitude during his recovery.

“When I was younger, I always wanted to be a Navy SEAL and their mindset is to never give up and I just stuck with that and it helped me out,” Lois said. “Looking at other people’s situations, a lot of people have it worse than I do, so it’s hard to feel sorry for myself.”

Somewhere among Lois’ desire for competition lies a heap of loyalty, which has been reciprocated by the Iowa coaching staff.

Whether or not he ever wears an Iowa uniform, Lois will maintain his scholarship, and will do whatever it takes to be involved with the team.

“They could have just kicked me to the curb and said ‘Sorry, kid’, but they’ve stuck with me,” Lois said. “Iowa is obviously the right school to choose. Even for the younger kids who are getting recruited, look at my story. I committed to Iowa two weeks before the accident and I break my neck and then Iowa still stuck with me.

“If the football thing doesn’t work out, I’d like to be a coach at Iowa, because I would have the perfect story to tell any recruits or their families.”

Lois is visiting with most of the 2020 recruitng class this weekend for Iowa's matchup with Penn State.