Teenager Brian Boyle was on the brink of death following a car accident that crushed his pelvis and moved his heart to the other side of his chest. Then, at the point where he was ready to give up the fight, his dad came to the hospital to speak to him. And his father’s heart-wrenching words ended up changing everything.
Brian Boyle is a man from Welcome, Maryland, with a life story like no other. Not only is it heartbreaking to hear, but it’s also truly inspiring. Boyle is now married and in his 30s, but back when he was 18 years old, his family wondered if he would ever make it that far through life.
Boyle was a keen athlete in high school and a particularly strong swimmer. Indeed, he spent the evening of July 6, 2004, training in the pool with the rest of his swim team. But driving home after practice that night, something utterly devastating happened.
As Boyle drove up to an intersection, a truck that was traveling over the speed limit smashed into his car. The vehicle struck Boyle’s car on the driver’s side and crushed it, inflicting catastrophic injuries to the teenager’s body. In fact, the car was so badly damaged that emergency services assumed it had been involved in a fatal collision.
Miraculously, though, Boyle hadn’t died. However, he was in a very bad way and was airlifted to ER as a matter of urgency. The young man’s condition was critical – his body had lost more than half of its blood – and there was no telling if he would pull through or not. And if the blood loss wasn’t bad enough, there was worse news to come.
Aside from the fact that he was hemorrhaging badly, Boyle had also suffered some horrific internal injuries. Terrifyingly, the sheer impact of the crash had pushed his heart over to the other side of his chest. Not only that, but his pelvis and some internal organs had also been crushed.
Boyle’s mom and dad learned about the accident in a telephone call. And the news was clearly a bolt from the blue. Indeed, Boyle’s father collapsed to the ground in shock after hearing that his son was in hospital in a “critical condition.” Meanwhile, doctors at the hospital were fighting to save the youngster’s life.
Because of the severity of his injuries, Boyle was put into a medically induced coma. But he wasn’t out of the woods by any means. It was reported that the youngster technically died eight times, but luckily doctors brought him back on each occasion.
Moreover, although he couldn’t walk or talk while in the coma, Boyle could hear things going on around him. Unfortunately, this meant that he overheard fragments of conversation such as “nursing home” and even references to him being a “vegetable.” It’s fair to say his future looked bleak.
By way of illustration, on one occasion a priest even read Boyle his last rites. It seemed as though everyone was preparing, just in case the worst should happen. Then one day, Boyle’s dad came to the terrible realization that his son might not ever fully come back to him.
So, he told his wife that he was going to go and talk to his son. Terrified that his son was on his deathbed, Boyle’s dad steeled himself for a “pep talk.” “I had to tell him that he was the only thing we had in our lives,” he said during a TV interview.
As it turns out, Boyle heard his dad’s heartbreaking words. And they had come at a crucial time. That’s because the teenager had been close to giving up his fight. But on hearing his dad’s desperate plea, Boyle found some strength and began wiggling his fingers soon after. It was a positive sign.
Boyle slowly started improving more and more and then, when he was finally conscious and able to talk, he told his dad something amazing. Boyle explained how much the pep talk had helped. “Dad, I was giving up,” he said.
After two months in a coma, Boyle was awake and making real progress with his recovery. Soon, the teenager was moved to a rehabilitation unit where he underwent intensive treatment. And there was no stopping him from then on.
The teenager learned the basics of life once again: how to communicate, feed himself and wash. But it didn’t prove an easy feat, especially since he had lost 100 pounds since the accident. He persevered, however, and gradually he grew stronger every day.
Still, no one could have possibly imagined how much Boyle would progress from there on out. Sheer determination led him back to his feet. He started walking first, and then he was eventually able to run. The next challenge after that, then, was getting back into the swimming pool.
But Boyle had even bigger aspirations than simply rejoining a swimming team. He had always wanted to push his body and mind as far as he could. Before the accident, competing in an Ironman had been a dream goal of his. And post-accident, his goal remained exactly the same.
The car crash had only taken place in July 2004, but by October 2007 Boyle had managed to make his dream come true. With the stunning Hawaiian landscape as the backdrop, Boyle pushed himself to a new limit and successfully crossed the finish line. He had officially become an Ironman.
Completing an Ironman challenge is impressive enough for anyone, but it’s 100 times more remarkable for a guy who died eight times only three years beforehand. And Boyle’s achievement even caught the attention of the producers behind The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where he had the chance to share his story with the nation.
Since then, Boyle has used his life experiences to help others. Not only has he written a book detailing the struggles of his recovery, but he has toured the country giving motivational speeches. To top it off, he’s also an American Red Cross supporter, working to raise awareness about giving blood. Boyle’s story is inspirational to say the least, and proves to all of us that anything is possible if you want it enough.