Need some inspiration? Then this is it. True champions find a way to succeed despite the challenges they face. They can often pivot from one goal to another when troubles strike. Tim Don’s story epitomises this comeback motif.
It dates back to 2017 when Don was the king of the swimming, biking and running sport of triathlon. He had already earned four world titles, three Olympic berths for his nation of the United Kingdom, and was the current world record holder for the Ironman Triathlon (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42km run).
Then, in October 2017, days before the Ironman World Championships in Kona Hawaii, the unthinkable happened. Don went from race favourite to shattered wreck as his body lay on the road after an accident that left him with a cracked neck.
While the Ironman had been his focus and goal as a professional athlete, now he was in the biggest challenge of his life: to recover from a broken neck. This challenge is now an epic video, directed by Emmy Award winner Andrew Hinton ‘The Halo Man’.
The Halo Man documents Don’s journey starting with an operation to fix a halo neck brace to his body. Through rehabilitation that saw him complete a 42km marathon less than one year after his accident.
Tim Don’s career was understandably never back to his elite levels after his accident. However, he did compete in the Kona Ironman one year after his race. He has gone on to win other triathlons but what stands out most is his comeback from adversity.
His formula for a comeback is this: Firstly, never quit. He had some very dark days and weeks, but he was kind to himself and knew these times would pass.
Secondly, he had a team. From his family to his medical team to training partners and coaches/managers, Don had a team to support him and give him the encouragement he needed.
Thirdly, he set goals. Some were small, such as just being able to put on a shirt with a halo screwed into his head. There were bigger goals such as doing some biking on his stationary trainer. Others were long-term goals such as wanting to run the Boston marathon. Each small goal moved to a bigger one and snowballed to something special as you will see in the video.
Fourthly, attitude. Don talks lots about his perspective on life. Things happen in life we don’t expect or want. However, Don says it is your perspective that counts and that will get you through.
If you love a good comeback story or need some inspiration to tackle your own personal challenges, then Tim Don’s ‘Halo Man’ documentary is for you.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover1.html