It’s summer Olympics time, as everyone knows, and we’ve been watching it off and on. I don’t tend to enjoy the summer games as much as the winter…since my favorite event is the Luge. But last night, we were watching men’s gymnastics, when a certain gymnast from Ireland caught my attention. As they told the story of how he had arrived at this moment, I was moved nearly to tears.
When Kieran Behan was 6 years old, he fell in love with gymnastics and told his mom that he would be in the Olympics someday. He’s now 23 and has realized that dream last night. At 10, he had a benign tumor removed, but during surgery, had nerve damage to his leg because of a mistake made by the doctors during the operation. It took him nearly a year and a half to be able just to walk again, even when doctors said he wouldn’t be able to do. He went back to the gym, where a few months later, he suffered a traumatic brain injury, which caused him to constantly black out. He could barely move his head around, and was constantly dizzy. After 2 months in the hospital, with the doctors saying he would never be able to walk normally again and never be able to train again, his mom quit her job, and took him home to care for him. Two years later, Kieran went back into the gym to train again. It was a rough go for him, with more broken bones, a torn anterior cruciate ligament which required six months of therapy, and other setbacks. But he kept pushing.
in 2010, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in the other knee. This time, he became depressed, because he was so close to the European championships, mere weeks away. Still, he picked himself up, did his therapy, and trained again. He knew he’d not win any goals at the Olympics, but he knew he would be there to compete. Nothing would stop him now, not even the slight tear in a rotator cuff before heading to London. This 5’4″ young man was told over and over again that he could not do this, but he did not listen to those who didn’t believe that his will was stronger than his body.
This story automatically made me think of September, when our lives were changed forever by a driver of a red sedan who ran my husband down, leaving him on the side of the road, bleeding from a major leg injury and causing a traumatic brain injury, despite the helmet that saved my husband’s life. The doctors did everything they could to fix him, but still there would be many months of therapy ahead. They said he might be able to ride his bike recreationally, but confided in me that he would never be able to race or do long rides like the Seattle to Portland again. When they told me that, I laughed to myself….I know better. I have seen first hand what he has overcome, and we’re not even a year into this. He WILL do it. He is determined
I have been told about many things that I could not do. But you know what…I can. I just have to believe it and want it badly enough. I have to do the hard work to reach those dreams and not listen to those who say it’s not possible. What do they know? Do they live my life? Do they really know what I’m capable of? Nope. I don’t really either, until I have actually done it and look back in amazement. That’s the best feeling in the world!