The Olympics feature many of the greatest athletes of the world aiming for a gold medal. But did you know that some of these incredible Olympic athletes are also brain injury survivors?
Kieran Behan was only the second Irish gymnast to qualify for the Olympics when he earned his way to the London 2012 competition. When he was 12 years old, he suffered a traumatic brain injury while working on the high bar.
He was so badly injured that he had to relearn how to sit. Behan needed three years until he was able to return to gymnastic training.
10 years following this injury, after an incredible amount of hard work, Behan competed in the Olympics.
Janice Teixeira was an Olympic television commentator when she had a stroke at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. She was able to make a quick recovery from this scary health event.
Eight years later (at the age of 54!), she competed at the Rio 2016 Olympics, representing Brazil in trap shooting.
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Jahvid Best was a first-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions. He was an incredible offensive weapon on the field, using his speed to rack up yards and touchdowns as a running back.
However, in his second year in the NFL, he suffered a serious concussion. This concussion, likely along with others suffered previously, forced him to have an early retirement from football in 2011.
But Best did not lose his desire to compete: He started racing in track and became successful at the 100-meter sprint. Five years following his retirement from professional football, he was able to qualify for the Olympics, representing St. Lucia at Rio 2016.
The 2021 Olympics in Tokyo will also feature an incredible brain injury survivor.
Owen Wright is an Australian professional surfer. He was one of the top surfers in the world when a 2015 wipeout led to a traumatic brain injury. He did not realize how badly he was injured, so his family had to take away his surfboards.
When he was allowed to return to surfing, he could not even get on his feet while on his board. Now, he has returned to be a successful surfer who wears a helmet to protect himself from further injury.
Six years after his brain injury, he will represent Australia in the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.
[Related: Presidential Success After a Brain Injury]
These amazing Olympians are a reminder that a brain injury does not mean that a survivor’s life is over. A brain injury may be a chapter in a story of triumph!
Moody Neurorehabilitation Institute loves hearing — and helping to bring about — success stories like this. To learn more about how rehabilitation can help you get back on track with your own dreams, contact us today.