It was a horrific car crash. On the way home from swim practice in 2004, eighteen-year old Brian Boyle’s future changed in an instant when a dump truck plowed into his vehicle. He was airlifted to a shock-trauma hospital. He had lost sixty percent of his blood, his heart had moved across his chest, and his organs and pelvis were pulverized. He was placed in a medically-induced coma. When Brian finally emerged from the coma two months later, he had no memory of the accident. He could see and hear, but not move or talk. Unable to communicate to his doctors, nurses, or frantic parents, he heard words like “vegetable” and “nursing home.” If he lived, doctors predicted he might not be able to walk again, and certainly not swim. Then, miraculously, Brian clawed his way back to the living. First blinking his eyelids, then squeezing a hand, then smiling, he gradually emerged from his locked-in state. The former swimmer and bodybuilder had lost one hundred pounds.
In 2007 Brian Boyle staged what many consider to be one of the greatest comebacks in sports history when he crossed the finish line at the Hawaii Ironman just three years after leaving the Intensive Care Unit.
In 2008, he competed in the 2008 Foster Grant Ironman70.3 World Championship in Clearwater, Florida and Men’s Health magazine named Boyle one of its twenty heroes. In 2009, he published his first book, Iron Heart, and he was presented the spokesperson of the year award from the American Red Cross for his contributions.
In the fall of 2009, Brian ran in five marathons back to back in a little over five weeks in Baltimore, Marine Corps., New York, Richmond, and Philadelphia. Runner’s World featured his story and this running quest in their April 2010 issue.
In 2010, he graduated Cum Laude from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. He was awarded the Spokesperson of the Year award for the second year in a row for 2010 and also made his very first blood donation at the hospital that brought him back to life.
His story has been featured on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, NBC’s Today Show, ESPN, and several other programs throughout the country that have earned Emmy nominations and have won several awards.
His journey of courage and determination has touched the hearts of many and his story and the message it carries has been celebrated around the world.