Boyle's dad said he was the type of kid who always wanted to do
something "just once more" - whether tossing a baseball back and forth
or diving into the pool.
But one afternoon in July 2004, Boyle's life changed in a split second
and his parents didn't know if he'd do anything once more. Boyle's life
has changed even more in the four years since that day.
In 2004, the 18-year-old McDonough High School honors student and
state-level athlete had just graduated and was headed home from swim
practice when a dump truck slammed into his small car. The impact broke
many of his bones, collapsed his lungs and lacerated his liver, among a
laundry list of other internal damage.
"No one thought he'd live," said his father, Garth Boyle. "He was still
wet (from swim practice)."
Brian Boyle has since recovered from the accident that damaged nearly
every organ in his body. "We just look at him and we're amazed," said
his mother, Joanne Boyle.
Many people have been amazed and inspired by Brian Boyle's recovery,
which spanned a three-year period. Numerous newspapers, television
programs and national magazines, including "Inside the Vatican," which
named him one of their top 10 inspiring people of 2007, have featured
his recovery story.
Today, the 22-year-old Charles County resident attends St. Mary's
College of Maryland and competes in triathlon endurance events
consisting of consecutively swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and
running 26.2 miles.
Becoming an athlete in such a grueling sport hasn't been easy. After two
months in Prince George's Hospital Center and a week in a rehab
facility, Brian Boyle went home to continue his recovery with only the
help of his parents.
Brian Boyle possessed a personal drive to leave his wheelchair and to
prove wrong doctors' assertions he may never walk again. He set personal
goals each day - perhaps tie his own shoes or squeeze a ball to build up
his nerve-damaged left arm. Eventually, he left the wheelchair, used a
walker, and then walked and ran unassisted.
Before the accident, the former body builder and swimmer weighed 230
pounds; he was 129 pounds upon leaving the hospital. "The impact of the
crash knocked my heart across my chest. … I died eight times while I was
in the intensive care unit and even when I woke up from my coma, I
couldn't talk or communicate," said Brian Boyle.
Communicating about his "tragedy to triumph," has become something he's
as driven to do as he is to run 15 to 20 miles three times a week in
training for his triathlon and half-triathlon competitions.
"I had all these dreams; I was just happy to be alive," he said. "I
didn't have anyone to talk to (who had lived through something similar);
I want to be that person who does have the answers (for someone else)."
His message, which he shares with anyone who will listen, is: "You have
to strive to keep going; don't give up. No matter how hard life gets,
keep your head up and you can survive."
He wrote on his Web site: " … being a survivor brings with it the innate
responsibility of helping others that may be in similar situations … as
a survivor you become a pawn in a much bigger game whose outcome you may
never be aware of. … Would it be a young man or woman who was suffering
from cancer that would see my story and resolve to NEVER GIVE UP? Did I
affect someone in a positive way on my journey when their life was
headed in a negative direction?"
Brian Boyle said it's now payback time. He and his parents have sought
out and thanked EMTs, firefighters and medical staff who helped save his
life. He's publicly speaking about the importance of blood donation for
the American Red Cross. After his accident, Brian Boyle had a 60 percent
blood loss, 14 surgeries and 36 blood transfusions.
"I'm wearing their logo on my jerseys," he said of the American Red
Cross. His racing jerseys are also adorned with the names of his major
sponsors, including Cannondale, the company that donated a hi-tech,
carbon bike for his racing; Powerbar; 4EverFit; Endless Pools; Timex;
Hypoxico Altitude Training and others.
As Brian Boyle completes a degree in graphic design and photography at
St. Mary's College, he is also working toward his goal of becoming a
He has successfully completed the Steelhead 70.3 half-ironman race in
Michigan and was given the inspirational athlete media slot to compete
in the Kona, Hawaii, Ironman World Championships, where his story and
race footage were broadcast on NBC. While he completed the Kona Ironman
in 14 hours, seven hours behind the winner, he said just completing the
race "makes you feel like a winner."
"After the pain I've experienced, the Ironman is a good kind of pain,"
And, it's likely he will keep doing it "once more" until he reaches his