I met Mikko for the first time, somewhat three years ago, back then I was still in wheelchair. We met in Synapsia, in the end of my first rehab period. The Mise, I met back then was in WAY better condition, than I was myself. Even though the crash he had endured, was way severer, than what I did… I remember thinking; “if he has gotten there… then I WILL get there! Someday…” As three years had passed by, we met in Synapsia again. I’m going to share our chat with you:
This is just a clip from back, when Mikko was riding… I found it from youtube. It’s from my home center H-Salo!
#FightBackPH: Hey Mise! Here we meet again. How’s life, and how are you?
#BackFighter1: Oh well, life is peaceful and easy… looking good indeed.
#FightBackPH: Okay! I’m gonna go straight down to business… I’m sure you’ve heard these questions many, MANY times: How did it all happen, when and where?
#BackFighter1: The accident happened in Mammoth Mountain, California, 23.04.2001. Well, it was my first jump of the kicker, on a new spot and everything was new to me… The whole day has disappeared from my memory.
#FightBackPH: And your trip’s outcome wasn’t QUITE like planned?
#BackFighter1: Yeah, well… I sank down to coma for almost a month… – No, nono, no. Wait! It was day shy of 2 months…
#FightBackPH: Do you remember anything about the crash?
#BackFighter1: No, it’s all blank… My brain apparently just wanted me to forget it all.
#FightBackPH: And what about your memories before the accident?
#BackFighter1: Well… Of the trip, I can only remember a few flashes…
#FightBackPH: Yeah, it’s the same for me… but what about earlier in your life? Like childhood and early-stuff?
#BackFighter1: Oh, those I can remember just fine. Even though… it took some time for me, to start to recall things.
#FightBackPH: Okay… the next thing, really interests me; When did the FIRST thing, you can recall again, happen?
#BackFighter1: It was three months later. I had just returned to Finland, and I was in Käpylä’s rehab center. The good old Käpylä.
#FightBackPH: And how did you start the own Fight of yours’? Were you as determined from the day 1?
#BackFighter1: Oh no. In the beginning I was just really confused. What am I doing, why am I doing this, and WHY can’t I DO anything?!
#FightBackPH: Yeah… the same for me. I was completely paralyzed in the beginning. But I can’t recall any of it.
#BackFighter1: Same here.
#FightBackPH: But I guess, it’s only a GOOD thing that at least I, can’t remember ANYthing of those days…
#BackFighter1: Yeah, me neither. I think that’s only better, I think our brain are protecting us. It’s some really fine brain’s motor functions…
#FightBackPH: Yup… At least I had such a wonderful medication on top of that all, that my brain couldn’t have even stored any memories…
#BackFighter1: Yeah, yeah… same with me.
#FightBackPH: So let’s put the memory loss partly on medication…
#BackFighter1: Let’s do THAT!
#FightBackPH: When were you “sober” enough to figure out that, I’m here, and this is REAL life?
#BackFighter1: Well, it was on my second Käpylä period. I couldn’t speak at all before that.
#FightBackPH: How long was your “time of silence”?
#BackFighter1: It was 1,5 years… but my voice isn’t the same, even right now.
*Wheew… I thought my mutism was really long… and it was just a bit shy of TWO months!
#FightBackPH: But you can speak, though… Did you get that back in Käpylä?
#BackFighter1: No, not quite… I got some good practices from there, and I practiced a LOT in home. It was about one week later when, I spoke my first words.
#FightBackPH: You felt good, or can you remember the feeling?
#BackFighter1: I can. I felt good, it was GREAT!
#FightBackPH: And you’ve been rehabilitating yourself here?
#BackFighter1: Yeah, I’ve been here four times alltogether now. All in the first two years. And then, I was in school, I didn’t apply anymore.
#FightBackPH: You were in school? What do you do for living?
#BackFighter1: In wintertime, I’m a snowboarding instructor at Talma, ski resort. Everyone, welcome there! On spring, summer and fall, I’m jobless… so we’re retired.
#FightBackPH: And what about your sponsors, did they stand on you side, and what about the snowboarding community? They’ve supported you?
#BackFighter1: Yeah, well, my fan-base was never really big. But now, just a couple years back, all the events, like the Vappulounas, started to invite me to join. I went there without money, and they took good care of me. My main sponsor Forum stood on my side, a bit… But as unfortunate, as it is, the company has changed. My last package from Forum came on the winter 2008.
#FightBackPH: Are you still kept along? The COMMUNITY didn’t leave you?
#BackFighter1: Yes. No, no, no – they’ve got my back.
#FightBackPH: What about my injury? When and where from did you hear about it? What kind of feelings did it raise?
#BackFighter1: I guess it was my mom, who mentioned you… it was horrible. I mean, even though we’ve survived this WELL out of this… I can’t hope this kinda destiny to ANYONE.
#FightBackPH: Now, let me interrupt you, fight back.
#BackFighter1: Exactly. FightBack.
#FightBackPH: About the brand – the FightBack – the brand? What do you think of that?
#BackFighter1: I think it’s so cool that you’ve done that, no, really, SO cool. There is nothing like this out there.
#FightBackPH: Yes, indeed, my goal number 1, is to inspire as many people as possible. People who have problems, to fight back from them.
#BackFighter1: Exactly, you’ve inspired me… a lot.
#FightBackPH: Well, what can I say…? That’s the greatest compliment for me. Especially, because I met you so early up in my rehab… You were a great inspiration for me! THANK YOU! I was still in wheelchair and… to see everything you’re doing, it was so great! Riding and… just walking! No words.
#BackFighter1: Yeah, you were in wheelchair… but, we’ve met a few times after that, too!
#FightBackPH: And I’ve returned the favor, I mean – the inspiration?
#BackFighter1: Yes you have, most definitely.
#FightBackPH: HOW have I been able to inspire, YOU?
#BackFighter1: Well… everything… this and that… everything you’ve done… FightBack – and everything you’ve done to help the people like us, who’ve suffered a TBI. Everything…
#FightBackPH: Well… I think it’s quite simple. You can wrap it up like this: shit just happens… we’ve both been our neck deep in it, but now – even our ass’s have reached the surface!
#BackFighter1: Yes, exactly! Even I’m not that deep anymore!
#FightBackPH: What about your improvement? Have you still noticed some improvements on your condition? I’m really curious about this, cause the insurance companies, or someone evaluates the permanent damage, after five years?
#BackFighter1: I’m still improving. I’m even noticing it, quite often. Not daily anymore… but often. Yearly.
#FightBackPH: So I should keep on the Fight, even after five years?
#BackFighter1: Definitely you should, FightBack.
*Thank you Mikko, I wouldn’t have given up – anyways… but still, inspiration…
#FightBackPH: Thank you for that Mikko.
#BackFighter1: You will get so far. You have already gotten far, and you will get… FURTHER!
#FightBackPH: These therapies have really helped me. Fysio-, occupational-, speech- and physio therapy. Which has helped you the most?
#BackFighter1: Oh well… all of them. Speech- and physio- were really good, neuropsychology is really important… but I couldn’t notice it helping myself. And in physio therapy, I learned to do everything again! In occupational therapy I learned all everyday-things.
#FightBackPH: I guess I’ve got all I need now… Would you have something more to say?
#BackFighter1: Well, not really… except that, EVERYONE – wear a helmet, and FIGHT BACK!