Winnebago Co. man’s unexplainable recovery

Few have had a more unexplainable year than Mike Intravaia. A story of devastation and revival earned Intravaia the name “Miracle Mike.”
Published: Jul. 3, 2020 at 12:54 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The year 2020 has been a struggle for many.

Few have had a more unexplainable year than Mike Intravaia. A story of devastation and revival earned Intravaia the name “Miracle Mike.”

“I love making an impact on the girls livelihood,” Intravaia said.

Intravaia has been leading the Boylan softball team for six years, and his daughter’s travel team for eight years. He’s learned to live from the crack of the bat, the pop of the glove and the race toward home plate.

For several months this year, Intravaia had to learn to live without those sights and sounds. This wasn’t because of the pandemic, but because of a health scare that came out of the blue on January 20.

“As the night went on I couldn’t move this arm and this was in total pain,” Intravaia said.

After 17 days worth of tests at SwedishAmerican and later Van Matre, the diagnosis was Complex Regional Pain System, or CRPS.

When Intravaia left Van Matre, their were thoughts he would never walk again.

“When you look up CRPS, there is really no cure,” Intravaia’s daughter Bella said. “It was definitely very hard to see him struggle, always moving, definitely hard.”

That struggle lasted exactly five months. On June 20, a bathroom mishap turned into a miracle.

“I was showering before a coaching event. I always go from the floor to toilet to shower chair. As I pushed up. I hit the toilet to the back of my head,” Intravaia said.

After lying on the floor for two minutes, Intravaia noticed something. He was pain free.

“I stood, sat down, no pain. I pulled the shower curtain and my arm was fine,” Intravaia said.

Mike went downstairs to share the amazing news with his family.

“He started talking to me, and then he was like, ‘watch this’ and I was like ‘what the heck?’ I told him to sit back down,” Intravaia’s daughter Laney said.

“I went to the shower and saw mom in the bathroom crying. I walked out of the room, I needed to get away, a lot of emotions.” Bella said.

The emotions continued at the ballpark, where a day after coaching in a wheelchair, Mike was able to lead his team standing up.

“My daughter said ‘do you notice anything different.' They looked up and said ‘oh my god.' They cried. Some parents cried and it was really emotional,” Intravaia said.

But like an extra inning game, the drama didn’t end there. Bella Intravaia delivered a Father’s Day gift to Mike in her first at bat.

“I hit a home run for the first time. First at bat only two pitches in. I was like I didn’t believe it happened. It was definitely inspirational,” Bella said.

Very emotional for me. I coached her since she was five years old. She looked at me when she hit first base. I was jumping up and down. Coaches probably thought what the heck it’s just the start of the game. But they didn’t now the back story,” Mike Intravaia said.

Someone else who didn’t know the whole story was Mike’s mom. The family decided to surprise her, days after his miraculous recovery when she paid a visit.

“It caught mom really off guard. She was surprised and we recorded it,” Mike Intravaia said.

”I cried because of the emotions going through. She was so shocked,” Bella said.

Visits to the neurologist after the amazing recovery produced few answers, but some advice.

“He said live life with no regrets. Just live for the moment. It is what it is but you’re okay,” Mike Intravaia said.

Advice that coach Mike can now instill on his team.

“You never know your last at bat, your last game. Always live life to the fullest because tomorrow is never promised,” Mike said.

This isn’t the first time the 38-year-old has battled adversity. At 17, he fractured his skull and became deaf in his right ear after a head-on crash. At age 29, he had a mechanical aortic valve placed in him. At 35, he became a diabetic. Now, just more proof that he’s quite a survivor.

Copyright 2020 WIFR. All rights reserved.