Conquering Life and the Battleground

Guest Blog Post by: Brian Boyle

 

Brian recently participated in Warrior Dash Maryland and we are proud to have him as a part of #WarriorNation. Learn more about his battle back from a nearly fatal car crash and what he had to say about his experience at Warrior Dash: 

 

As I lined up at the starting line of my first Warrior Dash in
Maryland, my heart raced with the thought of what the course would be
like for the next three miles. I looked around at the other
competitors and thought about their backgrounds and their inspiration
to want to do this event. I also reflected back on not only the past
few months of preparation that led up to this moment, but to also the
journey that I’ve been on over the years. As the race announcer
signaled to all of us that the event had begun, I started running down
the trail with the other participants, and flashed back to where I was
in this point of time in the summer of 2004.

One month after graduating from high school in 2004, I was involved in
a near fatal car accident. The impact of the crash instantly ripped my
heart across my chest, collapsed my lungs, shattered my
ribs/pelvis/left clavicle, damaged practically every organ in my body
especially the laceration of the liver, 60% blood loss and was quickly
medevaced to a local shock trauma unit. I was practically dead on
arrival when I arrived to the shock trauma unit. For the next two
months I was in a coma, on life support, and in critical condition. I
underwent fourteen major operations, received 36 blood transfusions
and 13 plasma treatments and ended up losing a total of one-hundred
pounds.

In the coma, I remember hearing the last rights and statements about
being a vegetable and spending the rest of my life in a nursing home.
After a little over a month-and-a-half, I began making my slow
comeback from my paralyzed state. Starting with the blinking of an
eye, the most subtle shake of a hand and then a smile, my parents knew
that I was still there and fighting for them. With their love and
support combined with several months of intense physical therapy where
I had to learn how to talk, eat, tie my shoes, take a shower and
eventually walk with a cane. I was out of the hospital and out of the
rehabilitation center, and began doing outpatient therapy at home. It
took three years to complete the entire recovery process.

This was 13 years ago, and as I competed in Warrior Dash Maryland, I
was celebrating not only my survival, but also my 10th year competing
in endurance sports. I’ve participated in over four dozen racing
events since 2007, and I wear the American Red Cross logo on my race
suit in all of these events, along with 36 red crosses to symbolize
the 36 blood donors that helped during my time of need. As I ran,
crawled, and climbed my way through the muddy terrain, I paid
particular attention to every step and heartbeat along the way,
reflecting back on the people who have supported me over the years.

From start to finish, the Warrior Dash Maryland was an incredible
event, and I’m really glad I had the opportunity to participate in it.
Some of my favorite obstacles included the Warrior Summit, Magic
Carpet Ride, and Goliath. Whether it was climbing up the steep
motocross inclines or sliding down a 30 foot slide into a pool of
water, these challenging obstacles were lined up evenly throughout the
3.2 mile course, and the motivation from the race volunteers and other
competitors greatly helped get from each point of the course to the
next.

My favorite moment of all was seeing my family when I crossed the
finish line because over the years, they have been my greatest
motivation of all.

The American Red Cross continues to have an urgent need for blood and
platelet donors of all blood types to give now and help save patient
lives. Please make an appointment today by downloading the Red Cross
Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS
(1- 800-733-2767).

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