University of Southern California
Spencer has been an athlete all of his life but at the age of 13 his sports, life, and focus were changed forever. He started playing his favorite sport of basketball at the age of four and he also played soccer, baseball, and football. For fun, he rode mountain bikes in the summer and snowboarded in the winter. Then a snowboarding accident in February of 2010 resulted in a broken neck and paralysis at the C4-5 level. He needed a ventilator to breathe and the doctors prepared him for life in a wheelchair. After his release from the hospital, Spencer became a much more disciplined athlete as he was competing against himself and his spinal cord injury. He learned new adaptive sports like surfing and rugby and started a rigorous rehabilitation schedule with the goal of walking and regaining independence. Spencer and his family became involved in planning and fundraising with Swim With Mike at UC San Diego while he was still in high school and they continue to be active with Swim With Mike. Spencer transferred his competitive streak to the classroom and he excelled in his high school, graduating with a 4.3 GPA and gaining admission to USC as a chemical engineering major.