“I don’t want to die.”
That was the only thought Brian Boyle had as he woke up from a coma and a priest
read him his last rights.
Boyle spoke to an audience of nearly 75 people, of how he went from his deathbed
to the Hawaii Ironman in three years, at the Ohio Union as collaboration between
the Ohio Union Activities Board and the American Red Cross, on Feb. 23.
In 2004, a near fatal car crash almost ended Boyle’s life at the age of 18. A 1978
dump truck going 36 mph over the speed limit smashed into Boyle’s car. Not only
did Boyle suffer broken bones, and internal bleeding, but also his heart shifted to the
other side of his chest from the impact. Boyle said paramedics and doctors revived
him eight different times in two months to keep him alive.
Boyle gave the audience a first person account, in short concise sentences, of what
he experienced after waking up in the hospital and having no idea of where he was,
or why he was there.
“I awake to regular beeping sounds. I’m alone in a white room and looking straight
up at the ceiling…I try to raise my arms, then legs, but I cant’ move them. My head
wont budge either,” Boyle said.
Moments after waking up a dark shadowy figure walked into Boyle’s room he said,
he feared it was death, but then realized it was a priest who began reading his last
As he read his story to the audience, Boyle had to stop for a moment.
“I’m sorry, flashbacks,” he said.
Two months after regaining consciousness, doctors moved Boyle to a therapy
facility, Boyle told his audience.
During his time in the ICU, and rehab, Boyle said he lost hope, and didn’t see a
reason to live, but through faith and his parents’ love, he said he realized he needed
Three years after the accident, Boyle said he decided to compete in the Hawaii
Ironman, an endurance triathlon consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride,
and 26.2-mile run.
Boyle said his decision to compete was his way of telling those around him that he
was finally ok.
“Ironman sealed the deal on my recovery,” Boyle said.
He finished the competition in 14 hours and 42 minutes. A great feat for someone
who was told he may never walk again by doctors three years prior.
“It was the breath of life all over again,” Boyle said about crossing the finish line.
After telling his audience his first hand experience he opened it up to a Q-and-A
Audience members asked him a wide range of questions, from his training regime
for his first Ironman, to if he minds driving after the accident
Boyle said he does not remember the accident, but is still cautious when he is on the
road. He only drives on local roads, he said.
“I don’t remember the accident, but the scars are there,” Boyle said of his lost
Since his first Ironman competition, he has competed in 30 other endurance
competitions, Boyle said.
Audience members said they found Boyle’s story to be inspirational, on many
Katie Sattler, a fourth-year in nursing, said his story reached her on both a personal
and professional level.
“It was very inspirational, it gives me a different stand point in nursing,” Sattler said.
Doire Perot, a third-year in operations management and president of American Red
Cross Club at OSU, said it was an incredible opportunity for OSU students.
“You can take a lot away from Brian’s story, even if you aren’t an athlete,” Perot said.