From Broken Neck To Ironman

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Kentucky man recovers from servere injury to race Ironman Louisville this weekend.

Brennan Donahoe was on a bicycle ride with a friend, coasting down a hill, when his skinny tires hit freshly mown grass on the pavement. His bike went out from under him, and he came to rest in a wire fence.

Donahoe knew he had landed hard, because his helmet broke in half. But he would have tried to get back on the bike had his friend, a third-year medical student, not told him to lie still.

A CT scan later showed that Donahoe had broken his neck, and he spent three months in a collar to keep his head immobile.

“They said it was the same break as Christopher Reeve, but with no compression,” he said, referring to the late actor who spent nine years as a quadriplegic after being thrown from a horse during a 1995 equestrian competition.

Donahoe’s fate was much different: He will compete Sunday in his first Ironman triathlon. The grueling race in Louisville consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run. “My goal is to finish,” he said.

People find all kinds of reasons not to exercise and stay in shape. If Donahoe, 35, wanted to make excuses, he could find plenty.

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