After getting her start in flat track at the age of eight, Morgan Monroe was hooked. Her entire family was very involved in the racing scene, and it was something they all enjoyed doing together.
When she turned pro at 17, Morgan’s entire family, including her dad, a former amateur racer, was there to cheer her on to the 14th spot—an incredible finish for a rookie.
Later that year, at Oglethorpe Speedway in Savannah, Georgia, Morgan was racing in two pro classes. In one of the heat races, she collided into another racer and high-sided straight onto her right side, right shoulder, and her head. In that split second, not only was her racing career done, but she was about to begin the fight for her life.
After being unconscious for almost four minutes, Morgan was taken via ambulance to the local hospital where doctors discovered she had broken her right scapula, L1 vertebra, four ribs, a small bone in her left hand, and that she had suffered a traumatic brain injury, causing her to have a hemorrhagic stroke and temporarily paralyzing the right side of her body.
After a precarious three days in the ICU and seven more in a regular room, Morgan was transported directly to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she spent 30 days learning how to walk again while attempting to regain mobility in her right arm and hand. She was brought into Mary Free Bed on a stretcher and 30 days later she walked out on her own using a cane.
Her road to recovery was just starting.
Throughout the next two years, Morgan underwent extensive outpatient therapy, first in Florida—where she stayed in a motorhome with her mom—and then in Michigan. Morgan had physical, occupational, and speech therapy, and participated in yoga, acupuncture, and at-home therapy with her mom. She then moved to working with a personal trainer, Anat Baniel Method Therapy, and worked with both University of Florida and University of Michigan-Flint physical therapy students, which would later inspire her future career.
The accident was devastating for Morgan in more ways than one. Beyond the physical pain and suffering, she struggled with the emotional and mental recovery. She couldn’t remember a life outside of racing and, having just turned pro, was anticipating a career in and around the sport.
Approximately a year after her accident, Morgan got back on her bike again and attempted a few races. She quickly realized that although she may be physically capable to compete at the same level, her mind would never be the same as a result of the trauma she and her family experienced. At that point, she began planning a new future. That future? Becoming a licensed occupational therapist.
Morgan went on to graduate from the same University of Michigan-Flint program that played a pivotal part in her recovery. With a bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences, Morgan began her professional career in 2021. But this is just the start of the next chapter in her life.
from vision to reality
Morgan recognized that outpatient therapy can be not only expensive for many people, but also a bit boring, particularly for elite athletes used to pushing the limits. She, herself, would often get burnt out from the repetitive motions and exercises she had to complete during her recovery, and so making therapy unique and enjoyable was a gamechanger for her and those around her.
As a result of her miraculous recovery, the outpouring of support from family, friends and the flat track community, and her personal and professional experiences, Morgan launched Morgan’s Place in 2021, a non-profit organization with the goal of supporting injured athletes and their families after they’ve been discharged from inpatient care.