While playing tight end on the College of Wooster football team, Mike Vyrostek tore his left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) his sophomore year. In order to return to the game he loved, he would need donated tissue to rebuild his knee. Chris Craig, Mike’s friend and teammate, had lost his father just before the start of their freshman year. Mike Craig had been a high school teacher and football coach, and was killed in an accident at their home. When Chris’ mom, Gail, heard about Mike Vyrostek’s injury, she asked Lifeline of Ohio if her husband’s donated tissue could repair the injury. The result was the first directed tissue donation facilitated by Lifeline of Ohio. Vyrostek continues Mike Craig’s legacy by coaching varsity football and teaching American History at Licking Heights High School.
“Even though many of the individuals who benefitted from my donor’s tissue will never know the origin of their healing gift, a rare twist of fate has given me the comfort and knowledge of knowing first-hand that my donor was a true hero. I know that because my donor was my best friend’s father, Mike Craig,” said Mike Vyrostek.
Mike Vyrostek was playing tight end on his high school’s football team during his junior year when he tore his right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that joins the upper and lower leg bones. Doctors were able to repair the injury using his own tissue. Mike’s tissue was used again when he re-injured the same ACL during his freshman year in college. But when he hurt his left knee the following year, using his own tissue was not an option. In order to return to the game he loved, he would need donated tissue for this surgical repair.
Chris Craig, Mike’s friend and teammate at the College of Wooster, had lost his father just before the start of their freshman year. Mike Craig had been a high school teacher and football coach, and was killed in an accident at their home. He had given the gift of tissue as a donor and touched many lives. When Chris’ mom, Gail, heard about Mike Vyrostek’s injury, she immediately contacted Lifeline of Ohio to ask if her husband’s tissue could be used to repair the injury. The result was the first directed tissue donation facilitated by Lifeline of Ohio.
“My surgery and recovery went well, and Mike’s gift allowed me to return to the playing field the following season,” said Mike, now 25. “My teammates joked that Mike was controlling my left knee, and that was the only reason I played well that season. Every time I stepped on the football field following my knee surgery, I whispered ‘thank you.’ I am so grateful for the gift, and appreciate the Craigs’ kindness through our experience. It has brought Chris and me closer together.
“Although my playing days are now done, I continue Mike’s legacy by coaching varsity football at Licking Heights High School, where I also teach American History. And I proudly share our story at any opportunity I have.”