I am from Connecticut and was born an athlete; I competed in soccer, mountain bike racing, BMX racing, running, and other extracurricular activities, this being said, I was not always a Para-athlete. At the age of 9, I was hit by a truck riding a Big Wheel toy when I slid down my friends' steep driveway into the road. The impact shattered the back of my skull and forced me into a 2-month long coma. Not only did I suffer a traumatic brain injury, but a broken femur, arm, shoulder, pelvis, and 6 ribs. A large portion of my cerebellum had to be removed, which is the part of the brain that controls balance and many other functions of the body. I was given no chance of survival by many. My parents and brother knew my strength and determination so they chose not to listen to the naysayers.
Against all odds, I slowly began to progress and soon my parents were researching rehabilitation hospitals for me. So, after spending 2 months at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital in Connecticut, I spent the next 7 months at Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, New York. When I arrived at Blythedale, the neurologist said, “I am optimistic that Ryan will regain enough strength in his right hand to type.” I couldn’t talk at that point or else I would have said something like what my parents did, which was that I would be doing much more than that; up running around and riding my bike again. I had to relearn everything including the simple function of swallowing that many take for granted. It took me 3 weeks after my coma to begin talking again and 6 months to stand. When I was discharged from Blythedale, I was in a wheelchair for the next 3 years because it took me 2 more years after that to begin taking steps without assistance.
After years and years of hard work, I began my college career at Berry College in Rome, Georgia, and transferred to Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina for better training opportunities. I started riding a tricycle- which has an additional rear wheel for stability- 2 years ago and have persevered through the humiliation of being an adult who races a tricycle to be on the U.S. National Para-cycling Team.
Just to add some reassurance, much of this information can be found on my website: www.ryanboyle.me. My website was created to publicize the autobiography I wrote several years ago entitled- When The Lights Go Out- A Boy Given a Second Chance. My book is about my road to recovery, which is not over in any way. Since that is another source of revenue for me, I must add that it is for sale on my website, online on Amazon as well as Barnes & Nobel.
Since the day of my accident on October 13, 2003, my life has materialized into something that I have dreamt of as a child. Being that I always loved cycling, I always wondered what it would be like to live as a professional cyclist. My dream is just getting started and I need your help to continue to live it.
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