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From A Coma To The World Champs: One Triathlete’s Remarkable Recovery

  • By Triathlete.com
  • Published Jun 3, 2011

Less ten years ago, Tanner Tennyson suffered a traumatic brain injury that landed him in a coma for three days. Today, he’s training for the world championships.

It is summer in Napa Valley and a man is running through the suffocating heat. Ten hours ago, he started swimming through the Russian River. He has swum, biked and run for more than 130 miles today, and now, 15 miles into a marathon, he is suffering from severe dehydration and gastrointestinal problems that should have him bedridden. Just eight days ago, he got off an Alaskan fishing boat after 40 days at sea.

The man shouldn’t be here. By all rights, he should have been in a wheelchair for the past 10 years.

On Sept. 14, 2001, Tanner Tennyson fell off a 10-foot high breezeway and landed on the back of his head. He fractured his skull and suffered a brain bleed in his left frontal lobe that left him in a coma for three days.

But Tennyson was lucky. These are serious injuries, ones which could have killed him, or left him a paraplegic, or in a vegetative state. Instead, he escaped with mild memory loss and pains in his head.

And now he’s a triathlete. Good from the start, he was at first unable to fully dedicate himself to the sport due to the lasting effects of his brain injury. It took about a year after the start of his career for Tennyson to begin training to compete on the national, and eventually international, scale.

Read more: The Daily

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