Wolford makes varsity debut following tragic accident


IMLAY CITY — Determination, commitment and a strong will to beat the odds are qualities some people face every day, after suffering what many call a debilitating injury.

The miraculous story of Michaela Wolford is one that continues and is well known in the community.

Michaela, who is a member of this year’s varsity bowling team at Imlay City, found a thrilling way to celebrate her four-year anniversary at a time when few gave her any hope to live, let alone be an active member of a bowling team.

Imlay City bowling coach Ryan Nolin, like many others, was quite emotional when talking of what happened last Friday at a bowling match in Imlay City.

“What a night for IC Bowling!” Nolin gushed. “The highlight of the day was (when) our own Michaela Wolford was bowling on the winning varsity squad contributing and EARNING her Varsity letter. The sound of the bowling alley cheering her on when she converted several spares was something this Coach won’t soon forget.”

The Imlay City community rallied in support of Wolford who at the age of 11 years old was critically injured in a snowmobile accident in February of 2020.

Members of the Imlay City girls bowling team were thrilled to have Michaela Wolford as part of the starting lineup last week. Pictured from left to right: Wolford, Emma Keeping, Morgan Robertson, Sarah Lauwers, Gabby Cremeans and Faith Schriber.

The daughter of former Imlay City Police Sgt. Tim Wolford and wife, Julie, Michaela was a sixth grader at Imlay City Middle School, at the time of the incident.

It was reported at the time that Michaela’s condition was stable but “she will have a long hard road ahead of her.”

After having spent nearly six months recovering from the extensive injuries she sustained in the snowmobile accident, Wolford returned home to hundreds of friends and community members who gathered at locations along Van Dyke.

Michaela had been in a coma in critical condition at the Hurley Medical Center in Flint.
After a series of operations, she emerged from her coma and immediately began making an amazing recovery.

She spent 17 weeks at the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids, fighting for her life and continued with hopes of rehabilitation.

Michalea’s mom, Julie , said family members were shocked at her recovery.

“Her progress and growth continues to be amazing and her will and determination to succeed is written all over face,” Julie said. “To think she couldn’t hold her head up on her own and still had a tracheostomy when we arrived (at Mary Free Bed) is mind blowing.”

The proud mom said, “She loves the challenge and pushes herself to meet new goals daily.”

Julie said Michaela’s fine motor skills have increased tremendously, and that she insists on doing things for herself.
“She is getting better balance, more control and is able to feed herself.

Family members say they have found strength and courage knowing they are surrounded and supported by family and friends.

“The love and support has been amazing,” Julie continued. “Michaela is our sunshine, our miracle. She inspires us and so many to be better, never give up, and to never take things for granted.

Once Michaela was home, in a previous report, Julie said, “We will all do whatever it takes to continue marching on with our girl as her healing and recovery continue. Thank you for all the love and prayers. We appreciate each and every one and ask you to keep them coming.”

Her mom said, “the mountains Michaela has moved from that horrid day in February is nothing short of a miracle. God’s plan for our girl is unfolding before our eyes.”

On Friday, when Imlay City was taking on Yale, Michaela was bowling in the three spot of the first Baker game.

In the eighth frame she knocked down eight pins and then picked up the spare.

“It was just an amazing thing,” Nolin said. “The look on her face was priceless, something I will never forget. Everyone was so happy for her. Her teammates were hugging her. The other team was congratulating her. It was a great night of bowling.”

Nolin, who coaches the girls and boys teams, said, “I challenged her. She had to earn her varsity letter and she did it. She is very determined.”

Michaela calmly walked up to the foul line with her spare attempt, lifted her right-handed shot down the lane and watched the ball as it rolled down the sixty-foot lane.

“She was so happy when she turned around,” Nolin said. “I don’t think she, or any of us could smile any bigger!”

Michaela’s spare in the second Baker game lifted her team to a 148-142 win.

Her recovery and rehab appointments continue. As does her determination to prove the medical experts wrong.

If Friday’s performance is any indication, with her grit and determination shown, along with her loving a real challenge, she is going to take herself to new levels that few expected, except for Michaela and her family.