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The Speakers:

Mike Utley

Mike UtleyIn 1984, Mike earned a scholarship to play football for Washington State University, where he would become only the second player in WSU history to earn consensus First Team All-American honors. In 1989, he was drafted in the third round of the NFL draft by the Detroit Lions and became the starting right guard in his rookie year. On November 17, 1991 while playing against the Los Angeles Rams, Mike fractured his 6th and 7th cervical vertebrae and was instantly paralyzed. The Mike Utley Foundation was created in 1992 to provide financial support towards research, rehabilitation and education for spinal cord injuries. Mike and the Utley Foundation are dedicated to providing motivational and emotional support to individuals and their families who have suffered these devastating injuries. Mike has been an inspiration to many in his efforts to find the cure for paralysis. He is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including: The Walter Camp Man of the Year Award, Ed Block Courage Award, The Shoemaker Award, and The Gene Autry Courage Award. Mike's courageous life story was recently chronicled on OLN's Emmy nominated series "Fearless." His ultimate goal is to walk off Ford Field in Detroit since he was not able to do so on that November day of the injury.