Nevis’s Michael Landquist Makes Incredible Comeback After Serious Car Accident
The biggest comeback of the basketball season didn’t happen on the court this year.
After a serious car accident last year, Michael Landquist, a senior at Nevis, was unsure if he would ever be able to play basketball again. But his determination and resiliency brought him back to the game that he loves.
Landquist was in a car accident last March. His car slid into a truck and pinned his car, breaking his pelvis, femur, humerus, nose, and transverse processes. Janet Golden-Landquist, his mother, says the surgeon was surprised that he survived the impact.
“I blacked out after I got hit and I thought it was a dream at first, and I didn’t really know what was going on. It was surreal,” said Landquist.
“They couldn’t get him out,” said Golden-Landquist. “It took about 20 minutes, and anytime they tried to move him he just screamed out in pain because his whole left-side was basically shattered.”
After a five-hour surgery, the road to recovery began – both to get him on his feet and walking, which would take over three months, and to get him back on the court.
“Michael was so scared through the process that he would not be able to play again,” said Heidi Wormley, a family friend. “We were very vocal with all the doctors that this was something that this kid wants to do, so when you’re putting him back together, make sure that this is how we get this stuff done.”
Before the accident, Landquist already had a laundry list of accomplishments; all-conference honors, a starter on two state tournament teams, and a 1,500 point scorer. But his most difficult challenge was yet to come.
“I had a lot of tough nights, sitting in my room with my mom,” said Landquist. “But she was always there every time. I had no idea if I could do it, I had no idea if I could get better. There were some tough nights.”
Cheering for Michael in his recovery was the community of Nevis – visiting him at the hospital, sending him hundreds of cards, hosting fundraisers that raised tens of thousands of dollars, and picking him up when he needed it most.
“It’s ‘Nevis Strong,’ and no matter how much we get knocked down or how many things happen to us, we stick together, we come together,” said Wormley.
“We couldn’t have done it without the support of Nevis and the surrounding areas. The cards, he read every single one of them, we have stacks and stacks of cards,” said Golden-Landquist. “It was amazing how everybody came together. It was a blessing.”
“I didn’t think that many people knew about me or anything. All the cards and texts messages and everything, I just didn’t know that many people cared,” said Landquist. “It just made me think that they’re all there for me and I have to get better.”
One major milestone in his recovery was last May at his prom, where he walked in public for the first time since his accident.
“He told his therapist that it was his goal to walk at prom, and he did it. It was pretty awesome,” said Golden-Landquist. “That was a moment in time.”
“There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, and it was just a huge moment in his life and especially in his recovery,” said Wormley
“I’ve always been an active kid and then to be stuck in a wheelchair and a bed and then to finally stand up, it’s a whole new world, it’s great,” said Landquist.
It was a question whether he would ever step back out on the court again, but through hard work and determination, Michael was able to rejoin his team.
“I needed something to push me to do my exercises every day and that was the motivation I needed, to get back on the court,” said Landquist.
Landquist is also a member of the football team, and while he couldn’t play on the team this year, he stayed involved and attended almost every practice and game. Once playing football was ruled out, his goal became playing basketball this season.
“He’s been a player that has probably experience as much basketball-wise as any kid would hope to,” said Scott Kramer, his head coach at Nevis. “He is a huge contributor for us on our team and with our program. I couldn’t be happier.”
Landquist says that when he’s on the basketball court, he’s able to focus on basketball, and doesn’t think about any of the bad things that have happened to him.
“Just to see him play again and the twinkle in his eye and him, you know, going after the ball. He used to be a little hesitant in the beginning, but as the season has built, you can see him just going,” said Wormley.
All the adversity that Michael has gone through has given him a new outlook on life, and his friends and family hope that he can be an inspiration to those facing obstacles in their lives.
“Never know what you are capable of, no matter how far you get pushed down, no matter how bad it looks,” said Wormley. “You can get up, you can keep going, you can keep playing, you can keep fighting. And Michael’s proof of that.”
“Everything’s there and you’ve got to take advantage of it. You don’t know when anything bad could happen or you don’t know when you can lose something, so live in the moment,” said Landquist.
Michael plans to attend St. Cloud Community and Technical College next fall, where he plans to study business and hopes to continue his basketball career.