Corner Brook, Newfoundland
“There are lots of inspiring stories about people beating the odds, but the book “Iron Heart” by Brian Boyle deserves some sort of award for most uplifting true life account.
By the way, this is not the Brian Boyle who plays in the NHL. The subject of this book is an ordinary person, not a famous person, although his will power can be seen as anything but ordinary.
On July 6, 2004, 18-year-old Brian Boyle was driving home from swim practice, when a dump truck speeding through an intersection T-boned the car he was driving. The former swimmer and bodybuilder suffered massive internal injuries and lost 60 per cent of his blood.
To manage his pain, medical staff had to put him in a chemical-induced coma which lasted two months.
Doctors predicted that if Boyle survived it would be in a vegetative state. And they said that if he did manage to regain consciousness and use of his mental faculties, he would likely have to live out his life under full-time nursing care.
He recalls at one point having to listen to this because he’d made it out of the coma, but could not communicate.
He says it was like being in a mental and physical prison, not being able to tell anyone he was awake and aware.
He didn’t even know for certain that hospital staff weren’t going to pull the plug.
Miraculously, though, Boyle managed to emerge from this hellish-sounding solitary confinement, getting past the coma barrier and rejoining the living.
What happened after that, though, would make move even the most cynical to wonder about the veracity of miracles.
Within several weeks, he progressed to the point where was undergoing rehab and relearning basics like eating, speaking, using his arms, and walking. But he’d lost a hundred pounds and was incredibly weak.
Then, again, he was determined — not only to take up swimming again, but to compete in the Iron Man Triathlon in Hawaii.
On October 13, 2007, Boyle crossed the Iron Man finish line in 14 hours, 42 minutes — not bad considering the accident 30 months before had displaced his heart and crushed his pelvic bones.
“Iron Heart” is an amazing story about cheating death — quite literally, and drawing on sheer determination and will power to make it back and never give in to pain or discouragement.
This is not only an excellent sports biography; it’s a testament to how indomitable the human spirit can be. Highly recommended.”