After a Nearly-Fatal Brain Injury, One Athlete’s Redemption with an Ironman

Mike Reilly

(Runner’s World) – “You’re an Ironman, Michael!” cried Mike Reilly, whose voice you want to hear at the end of all major Ironman events. This particular callout seemed to ring throughout the Olympic Oval Skating Rink in Lake Placid, New York, on Sunday, July 23.

That’s because if you told Eureka, Missouri, natives Michael Bigogno and his father, Gregg, in the summer of 2012 that Michael would hear those words one day, they probably would have wept in disbelief or joy. Around this time five years ago, Michael was lying in a hospital bed with a helmet on protecting his skull, a fourth of it missing.

Or maybe Michael would have laughed at you in mockery, since the 28-year-old was born to compete, race, and put his body through whatever torture seemed possible. Maybe he, in that hospital bed, would have chuckled and said, “You bet I will.” CONTINUE