When the book starts, Brian Boyle is waking up from a two month coma. He was driving home from swim practice when his car got struck by a dump truck on July 6, 2004. He doesn’t remember any of it. When he first wakes up, he can’t move his eyes, eyelids, or anything on his body because of severe nerve damage. In the crash, his heart was shifted to the other side of his chest, his lungs were collapsed, and almost every vital organ in his body had some kind of injury. He is constantly being operated on, and no one believed he would live. After being down, and almost wanting to die because of his lack of not being able to do anything, he is able to slowly blink. Brian begins to move body parts a few inches. Every day he and a nurse work on his movement in every area of the body. Soon, Brian can move arms, face and feet pretty well. Then a nurse uses a special machine to get him to talk. The first couple attempts are failures as expected, but on the third attempt a raspy “hello”. He soon begins speaking in full sentences. Soon after this he attempts to walk again. Supported by a nurse and a sling that holds him up, he can take a few steps. At this time he will be transferred from intensive care to Kernan Rehabilitation Center.
Brian credits a lot of his comeback in the ICU to his parents. They believed he could do it and tried their best to be strong for him. He also credits all the nurses and doctors that operated, monitored and took care of him to the end. Brian had just graduated high school at the time of the crash. He was a top swimmer and academic performer at his school. He also had a passion for bodybuilding. Brian never drank or did drugs, and was headed to St.Mary’s for college.
At the Rehabilitation Center, Brian had therapy lessons daily. He practiced walking, and feeding himself. He was making an incredible recovery, but he was told that he would never be able to get back in the pool. Soon, Brian was moved back to his house, but he still did therapy 3 times a week. Brian continued his recovery at home and started lifting and strength training. Brian worked for his dad’s construction company which helped with strength and endurance training. Once Brian got the ok from his doctors, Brian fought against the odds and got back in the pool.
Soon Brian has made an almost full recovery and got to attend St.Mary’s and swim for them. It was always Brian’s dream to do a Ironman, and with his body recovering fast, seemed possible, even if that possibility was slim. One day Brian got a email from the NBC producer of the Ironman in Hawaii. He wanted to see if Brian could attempt an Ironman. Brian accepts the invitation",and agrees to do a half Ironman before he tries a full. The half Ironman took place in August, 2007. Brian immediately started hard training for the half, which took place two weeks after he knew he was doing it. He had low experience in biking, and wasn’t trained for running. He had also never swam in open waters before.
Brian finished the half Ironman in Steelhead, Michigan. He didn’t do well at all, but that was expected. Brian was going to Kona, Hawaii in October to attempt to do an
Ironman. Brian felt honored to be with all the people participating in the Ironman. They were his role models in a way. Brian had a good Ironman swim, 1 hour 11 minutes, and fine on the bike. But he didn’t care what his times were. He was just happy to be alive in Hawaii, trying an Ironman. His run went ok, only walking a couple of times. Then he crossed the finish line with a time of 14 hours and 42 minutes, ending with the happiest moment of his life.