A Second Chance at Life!
January 21, 2021
December 4, 2021
On January 20, 2021, while escaping the cold wind of Chicago for the winter bird season in Florida, I was riding one of my beloved Harley Davidsons, when I had a very serious accident. They say that there are two types of riders, those that have had an accident, and those that will. After 37 years and almost 200,000 miles of accident-free riding, it was my time.
After hitting a 10” curb as an alternative to hitting a car head-on, I was catapulted over the handlebars, landed on my forehead, and then skipped along the pavement for 50’ before the 900 pound Harley followed my tumble, and ultimately landed on my the right side of my body and face. As if the hard asphalt didn’t do enough damage!
After a short stop at the Naples Community Hospital, I was transported to a Level-1 trauma hospital, an hour away. The damage was significant. In addition to the two fractures in my skull and the related hemorrhaging and swelling of the brain, I had also fractured my neck (the C-1 vertebrae, which is the most common cause of paralysis due to shallow water diving accidents), my C-7 vertebrae, as well as my eye socket, cheek, and nose (essentially the entire right side of my face). Also, the Supraspinatus shoulder muscle and bicep each suffered full thickness tears
What is relevant here, is that the trauma physicians were surprised that the damage - especially caused from my neck and upper back injuries, were not more permanent. I was simply lucky to be able to walk out of the hospital a week later, without any paralysis or truly life-altering damage to my physical body.
The physicians and surgeons agreed that my physical conditioning, and likely the muscular structure protecting my spine and neck, had made all the difference in the world. The facial and skull injuries were relatively trivial after some time healing (I was never that great looking anyway), but the cervical injuries should have certainly caused more permanent damage. While I attribute a lot of that to pure luck, and a guardian angel in my father who had passed away a year to the week earlier, it was apparent that my fitness and preventative health care regime had played a major role.
Long story short, in early June 2021 I was back in the gym. By July, I was training at 75% of where I was prior to the accident, and recovering much of the muscle atrophy caused from a full 6 months of no gym activity other than physical therapy with resistance bands.
On December 4, 2021, I competed in the NPC National Mel Chancey Holiday Classic bodybuilding competition in Tampa, Florida. I started 2021 in an intensive care unit in Florida with a broken body. I ended 2021 on-stage in Florida competing basically in a “best body” competition with kids half my age. It was another marathon, and driven by pure intent and determination. I took home 1st Place in the Masters Division!
I must attribute this remarkable story of potential tragedy and recovery, to the physical life-style habits and conditioning that I had learned, adopted, enjoyed and subscribed to as discussed in this book. Not only did my physical conditioning prior to the accident help protect against more permanent debilitation, and my familiar conditioning routine was adjusted to allow for adequate recovery and then re-immersion into training, but my nutritional habits remained largely intact during my entire recovery, which certainly contributed to the healing process.
As for getting back on a motorcycle, there is an old adage for seasoned riders, “if I have to explain it, you wouldn’t understand…”.