Over the years, Mike Tanner has been as loyal as any Colorado Buffalo around.
Now, he’s hoping some Buffs will help him.
A walk-on player at CU under coach Bill Mallory in the 1970s, Tanner has set up a GoFundMe.com page to raise money to pay for medical expenses.
“I have to get back up on my feet,” he said.
Three decades ago, Tanner, 65, was in a plane crash and suffered neck and back injuries. A minor break in his lower back was not detected at the time, but he tried to have it fixed recently.
“They had to go in and try to fix my back and it didn’t work,” he said. “My whole left leg was dead from the nerve damage, so they had to amputate my left leg.”
Tanner’s lower left leg was amputated on Aug. 10.
“It was a pretty rough surgery, to say the least,” he said.
Tanner said Medicaid paid for the first prosthetic, but he needs two more over the next nine months that aren’t covered. They run nearly $5,000 apiece.
It’s been a rough road medically for Tanner, who was also recently in a car accident that left him with a fractured sternum and two broken ribs. He’s also trying to save his lower right leg from amputation.
“My right leg is working better with some treatment,” he said. “They told me acupuncture may do it.”
Tanner has a long relationship with Boulder and the Buffs.
“I have been going to Folsom Field since I was 8 years old, selling Coke during games,” he said.
Tanner played for Sam Pagano at Fairview High School before walking on at CU as a long-snapper.
Following his playing days, Tanner was a graduate assistant for coach Chuck Fairbanks and also helped with head coaches Rick Neuheisel and Gary Barnett. He has also recently worked as a volunteer for current head coach Mike MacIntyre.
A well-known member of the Buff community, Tanner is a long-time friend of legendary coach Bill McCartney and the late Rashaan Salaam. Tanner’s daughter, Cydney, has been a student at CU in recent years while also working in the sports information department.
Tanner and his daughter both helped ESPN on its production of the 30-for-30 series, “The Gospel According to Mac.”
Part of Tanner’s goal with the GoFundMe.com page is to help his daughter with college expenses.
“My goal is to help my family and help my daughter,” he said. “She’s paying for everything on her own.”
With a love for the Buffs and coaching, Tanner is hoping that he will soon be on his feet and able to lend some assistance to the current team on the practice field.
“That would mean everything to me,” he said.
As of Tuesday, Tanner had received more than $5,600 towards his goal of $15,000. To donate, visit: www.gofundme.com/prothesis-for-left-leg.