Boyd triumphs over adversity after severe wreck

Published 11:15 am Thursday, March 29, 2012

It was a night that changed Rebul Academy basketball player Mikala Boyd’s life forever.

Boyd was riding home late one June night last year with a friend and they were just 15 or 20 minutes away from her home in Utica after a camping trip.

A day just like any other. But it wasn’t.

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The car hit a patch of gravel and careened into a ditch, flipping multiple times. Boyd was ejected through the passenger side glass, landing 100 feet away in a patch of poison ivy. She later required painful cosmetic surgery to fix her ear and deal with the lacerations on her face.

“The last thing I remember was the sound of broken glass,” Boyd said. “Once I woke up, I was in the woods and the worst part was the poison ivy. I’m deathly allergic and the itching drove me crazy.”

Despite suffering four fractured vertebrae, numerous lacerations and a knee injury, she returned to school in the fall with a cast on her knee and a full neck brace, determined to return to the basketball court.

Doubt crept in her mind.

“I just wondered if I’d ever play basketball again,” Boyd said. “I started playing when I was in third or fourth grade and it was all I ever wanted to do.”

She sat out softball season and went to the gym, even with a knee brace, determined to get a head start on her return, shooting baskets and doing what she could to get in condition. But her doctor feared that a bone spur in her neck that was, in Boyd’s words, “floating around” could result in paralysis if she resumed her basketball career.

Those fears proved unfounded. On the last day of softball season, she got the news from her doctor. She was cleared to play basketball.

It was vindication and the answer to many prayers to return home to the court.

“I’m the type of person that I love to prove somebody wrong,” Boyd said. “At the first game, at halftime, I knew I was where I wanted to be.”

But the story didn’t end with her return. She continued to improve physically and mentally, scoring 53 points, grabbing 38 rebounds and tallying 15 steals in a 2-1 stretch for Rebul in January. She won MVP honors in District 5-A and led her team to a district title.

She was rewarded with a spot on the South roster for the MAIS Class A All-Star game earlier this month and won MVP honors in the game.

“I was shocked when I heard my name called,” Boyd said when she found out she won the award. “It was a great honor.”

It was the culmination of a long road to recovery and the story isn’t done yet, as Boyd hopes to play college basketball next season.

“It’s definitely made me a different person,” Boyd said. “I appreciate every opportunity I’ve had. I just feel blessed.”

Greek philosopher Epicurus wrote “The greater difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.”

Boyd is living proof of that bit of wisdom.

Steve Wilson is sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. You can follow him on Twitter at vpsportseditor. He can be reached at 601-636-4545, ext. 142 or at