By Tyler Malek – My story is one that is quite uncommon for someone 17 years old but I’d like to share it with you to prove that the fitness lifestyle is something that can be not only a game changer, but a life saver, as well. Five years ago on May 21, 2010, I was crossing the street and got hit by an SUV that was going 40 mph. I sustained multiple injuries from the accident, including two broken femurs, a broken pelvis, a damaged spleen and a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury).
I was hospitalized and slipped into a coma that lasted for a month. This was a devastating time for my family as they did not know whether or not I would ever wake up. I lost a drastic amount of weight while I was in a coma, and when I was down to about 95 pounds, a feeding tube was inserted into my stomach. However, my weight continued to drop.
When I did wake up I had no idea where I was. I had metal rods in both legs and couldn’t move the right side of my body (a result of the TBI). In my dazed condition, I ripped the feeding tube out of my stomach and had to have immediate surgery to insert another. I stabilized and after about a month I regained movement in the right side of my body.
After that I started the slow path to recovery, with some setbacks and additional surgeries to remove about 1/3 of my spleen and drain my lungs of fluid. While I was recovering, I had the full support of family and friends who were behind me every step of the way. I was told by many people I wasn’t going to be able to do the things I once did, including all the every day things we all take for granted. I refused to believe this and became motivated to get better and prove all those people wrong.
I hit the gym and began to work out religiously. I regained strength, began to rebuild my body, and was even able to resume playing football for my high school team. A year after the accident, I wasn’t able to walk a mile. Now I can run a mile in under 10 minutes! I am currently up to 187 pounds of muscle, and recently earned an endorsement as a sponsored athlete for Rich Piana’s 5% Nutrition – the only person under 18 to be sponsored by this company.
It has been a long journey from where I was to where I am now. I have come so far and learned so much, and feel that in many ways I’m a better person from the experience. The scars on my body remind me not only of where I’ve been but where I want to go. Now I want to be able to inspire others and show them that anything is possible. It makes me truly happy when I am able to share my story and help others make a change in their lives. It makes me feel that I have succeeded, as well.
Be sure to follow Tyler on Instagram @malektyler