How Crossfit can Help People with a Traumatic Brain Injury?

How Crossfit can Help People with a Traumatic Brain Injury

I got this email from Mike. It is amazing. It is motivating and a big reason I am a massive fan of using exercise to overcome injuries.

Have a read:

Thanks, Rick, for your loyal online support.

I continually find your posts very practical and helpful in my ongoing quest to balance my life and injuries, both physically and mentally. I’ve learned that what I do physically affects my mental ability to function.

How do I get my Traumatic Brain Injury?

My wife & I were run Over by a Truck in 2002 While Waiting to Turn Left at an Intersection. Our car was destroyed instantly, and my wife & I are grateful to be alive. Unfortunately, both my wife and I acquired mild traumatic brain injuries.

I’ve had several years of mental rehab for depression and anxiety and physical recovery for head-to-toe soft tissue damage and some nerve damage to cope with this new life of challenges. At one point, I had 44 doctors. I was given medication to help with pain, anxiety, seizures, and sleep. I was told that despite the risks of side effects, I was to remain on these meds for the rest of my life to function as usual life as possible and that the short-term benefits were more significant than the long-term costs. The doctors and the medications all served a valuable purpose for a time.

Traumatic Brain Injury

In May of 2008, I was introduced to a high-intensity workout called CrossFit.

During the first 2-3 months, I would black out about 4-5 times per class.

The only reason I kept going was that about 2 hours after each class, I felt as though I could think a little bit clearer.

This gave me hope!

The workouts often lasted between 6 & 30 minutes.

Regarding the physical terms of my recovery, I’m still learning technical aspects – so please correct me if I’m wrong. After a warm-up, I think the short bursts of intensity push me into an anaerobic workout where most of the oxygen is deprived in my muscles. This demands more comprehensive training in a shorter period. Doctors told me that my adrenalin is always going because of the traumatic brain injury, so the CrossFit workouts help me healthily spend the adrenalin. The exercises are modified to accommodate areas that need to be strengthened.

I was not in the most excellent shape when I started (about 205#’s), but I saw this as a possible chance to become free of medication. I’ve been cleaning off all my meds with doctor supervision since August 2008!

I now have regular bi-weekly visits with one doctor overseeing this treatment. I attend CrossFit 6x’s per week. My current weight is around 176 #s. If I have more than two days without CrossFit, the anger and depression hit me like a train. This road I’m on is not an easy one.

I’ve learned that many would rather quit the hard work of proper nutrition and exercise.

The benefit of exercise in my traumatic brain injury is enormous!

The lifestyle is ongoing. I still need sleep most days for up to 2hrs in the middle of the day. The fight with depression is continuing – this is offset by what I eat and the intensity and frequency of exercise.

My life with pain is ongoing. But now, my body is in a constant state of rejuvenation, and I’m becoming stronger! A couple of physical achievements include a personal best deadlift of 403 #s and 36 pull-ups in a row with a full range of motion without resting! Thanks again for your posts, Rick. Your valuable resource on my team contributes to a balanced lifestyle.

If I could encourage your readers, it would be to make them aware that I did not trust anyone in the early years of rehab. I was skeptical of the relationship between physical and mental wellness. Please don’t give up! I had to experience the benefit before any workouts meant anything to me.

Now I’m drug-free and have just one doctor! The biggest challenge mentally is my constant comparison to how I once was. This leads to depression. Making the most of each moment and my new life with exercise and family support is what moves me forward. Exercise produces life! Thanks again for your expertise. I hope this helps deal with some of the concussive clients. Never give up!

Kind regards,

Mike Shilton

14-Day Brain Health Quick Start Program