Local Sports

Hartford's Michael Turner Wins WIAA Spirit of Sport Award

Michael Turner of Hartford Union High School has been selected as the 2024 Wisconsin recipient of the Spirit of Sport Award presented by the WIAA, the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW) and the National Federation of State High School Associations.
The Spirit of Sport Award program was created by the NFHS and adopted by the WIAA in 2018 in partnership with the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. The award recognizes individuals who exemplify the ideals of the spirit of sport that represent the core mission of education-based athletics.
During a WIAA Level 2 football playoff game versus Homestead on Oct. 28, 2022, Turner’s life story was redirected in traumatic fashion. After the junior cornerback made a tackle on a play, the Orioles’ coaching staff observed something abnormal with Turner during a subsequent timeout and removed him from the game.
As the team doctor and athletic trainer were examining him, Turner collapsed and experienced a seizure that required life-saving procedures by the emergency medical technicians on the sidelines and as he was transported and treated at the local hospital. Hours later, he was moved to Childrens’ Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery two days later to have the right side of his skull removed to relieve pressure on the brain.
Turner was diagnosed with Secondary Impact Syndrome and was placed in an induced coma for 10 days. To further complicate his recovery, he developed blood clots in his lungs. The medical team was able to resolve the blood clot issue, and Turner spent 15 days in the intensive care unit. He spent seven weeks recovering at the hospital. Turner was able to return home after a month of intense rehabilitation therapy, but recovery remained challenging.
Experiencing life without the right side of his skull required 24-hour home care for the two months prior to surgery to have that portion of his skull reattached.
Following his surgery, Turner struggled with his short-term memory. He made tremendous progress and was able to return to school and assist with the football program, cheering on his teammates during practice and games, as well as providing pre-game pep talks and encouragement.
Turner continues to work hard in recovery, and he still experiences memory loss. He is prohibited from participation in sports that would pose a threat of another concussion. He has handled his road to recovery with appreciation for life and a fun sense of humor.

As the Wisconsin recipient of the Spirit of Sport Award, Turner will receive an award sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. He will be presented with the award and recognized at the 2024 WIAA Annual Meeting on April 24.
In addition to Turner, finalists for Wisconsin’s nomination for the Spirit of Sport Award include Adam Backus of Mishicot High School, Zoe Coder of West Salem High School and Dodge Shore of Hillsboro High School.