Our Genesis, Asked to Leave a Basketball Camp After Having a Seizure
Mike battled epilepsy from the age of 2. Playing basketball became his outlet and passion.As a 16-year-old, Mike Simmel was almost bounced out of a basketball camp. He was asked to leave because he had a seizure during camp, and that event became the cornerstone of Bounce Out the Stigma.
He had experienced numerous seizures before that day, but that time he felt ostracized and strangely different. Mike’s safe haven, his ability on the basketball court was now challenged. A personal quest to overcome that event was started. Although he would not overcome epilepsy, he lives with the battle through a healthy lifestyle, medical advice on medications.
From Special Education gym class to a high school and college standout, Mike overcame the challenges, but he felt the stigma. Playing professional basketball for 13 years with the World Famous Harlem Wizards was a goal achieved. It began Mike’s path to involved in the youth special needs community.
Today, Mike’s full-time efforts are to the Bounce Out the Stigma Project he founded in 2005. Our Mission is simply empowering youth to believe in themselves. Camps, clinics, school programs, and educational seminars keep Mike involved in working to change the world – one kid at a time!
How does a kid rise from a special-ed gym class to a professional basketball ball-handling wizard? Only Mike Simmel can capture his audience’s imagination with the “chills and thrills” of his story.
Mike has performed at the NCAA Final Four, has been interviewed on numerous television network shows, featured in national magazines and newspapers. He has even performed live at NYC’s Apollo on TV’s “Showtime at the Apollo.” Mike has done over 800 halftime shows throughout the US and spoke at over 300+ schools.
Mike Relates to Kids & Young Adults
As he will tell you in no uncertain terms. . .” I have been where these kids are, my youth was filled with doctor visits, changes in medication, and peer mistrust”. Being bullied as a young kid to becoming a professional ballplayer is Mike’s story. His story creates our mission to help others facing the challenges Mike did.
Beyond the Wizards – Mike has done over 600 halftime shows throughout the US and spoke at over 300+ schools.Mike has performed at the NCAA Final Four, has been interviewed on numerous television network shows, featured in national magazines and newspapers.
A young Mike even performed live at NYC’s Apollo on TV’s “Showtime at the Apollo.”