Janelle Morrison will return to the professional triathlon ranks at the Avia Wildflower Triathlon less than two years after a near fatal car accident. A documentary following her comeback is scheduled to premiere this summer.
See the complete press release below:
There are two dates that stand out for elite triathlete Janelle Morrison when she considers her professional race career. One forever altered her path to the top of the sport, the other marks her hard battled return. On May 5, 2012, Morrison will face off against her peers as she celebrates a remarkable comeback at the Avia Wildflower Triathlon.
Less than two years prior, on November 21, 2010, Morrison was in a horrific head on collision on a rural highway while driving to Calgary, Canada. Nearly every major bone in Morrison’s body was broken, her organs pushed into her chest, and doctors were forced to place her in a medically induced coma to allow her broken body to heal. Lucky to be alive was a phrase commonly uttered as Morrison began her battle to recovery. As Morrison slept, doctors worked hard to reassemble her broken body, questioning whether she would ever walk again.
Prior to the accident Morrison was clearly on the road to success. She placed first in her age group at Ironman Canada in 2008 in her debut amateur race. A year later, Morrison made the decision to give up her ‘day job’ as a grade five teacher to dedicate her life as a full-time triathlete. That was followed by a series of top ten finishes in the pro circuit, including a third place spot at Ironman Canada 2009 and a victory at the Wine Capital of Canada Sprint Triathlon in Oliver, B.C.
Then tragedy struck.
Morrison had her own plans. Two weeks after she awoke from her coma she was visited by fellow triathlete and documentary producer, Rob Kelly (Kelly Brother Productions). Kelly describes his first meeting with Morrison: “She kept talking about how she was going to come back, telling us to believe in her, and that she had been given a second chance. She was so focused and driven, it was undeniable.” It was clear to Kelly that the story of Janelle Morrison would not be scripted by her accident or her doctors, but by her desire to compete again and follow her passion. It was at that first meeting that he knew this was a story he needed to document and where “A Second Chance” was born, a feature documentary following Janelle’s comeback set to premiere on Adrenaline Television in Canada this summer.
Morrison drew from her dedication and passion for competing in the months of recovery following her horrific car accident. A ruptured diaphragm, punctured lung, a plate and 11 screws in her tibia, a rod in her femur, and a plate in her arm, only slowed Morrison down. “I had a doctor tell me soon after the accident that it would probably be years before I ever raced again and when I did that it would very likely not be at the professional level,” said Morrison. “He couldn’t have been more wrong.”
Within three months she was walking without crutches, and was able to speed her gate up to a run only a month later. She returned to training camps with her coach, Paulo Sousa, in St. George, Utah, less than 7 months into her recovery. “Anything is possible when you refuse to accept defeat, and choose to believe in yourself,” comments Morrison.
The story now focuses less on Morrison’s accident and recovery, but more on where she is going. It will be the Avia Wildflower Triathlon where Morrison’s return begins, a goal she has been focused on throughout this entire process. “After taking an entire season off to do extensive rehab, and watching others race, but never taking my eye off my own goals, it’s tough to describe how I feel on the brink of my comeback race,” explains Morrison. “I guess I would say that I’m excited for sure, but also in a way pleased that I had the determination to follow through to this point.”
The 30th Avia Wildflower Triathlon takes place May 4 through 6, 2012.