You may think that after being shot in the head, life as you know it could be over. Not so with Mike McClaughry. After investigating a shooting in Mount Vernon, Washington, he was wounded in the head, which was classed as a traumatic brain injury. What makes Mike so special is that just months after the shooting, he was cleared to leave rehab.
“I really think that had a lot to do with the investment I made in my body before the injury,” Mike said.
Mike attributes his recovery to the fact that he was always been active outside, always jumping at the chance to do things outdoors, whether it was walking, hiking or jogging. He regularly hiked 50 – 75 miles with the troops, as he was a Boy Scout volunteer.
Mount Vernon police LT Chris Cammock agreed that it had always been important for Mike to be fit and active. So not surprisingly, when Cammock asked him to join the group of Mount Vernon Officers in the ‘Fun with the Fuzz’ 5K, he gladly accepted. Cammock said that they wanted to remind Mike that even though he only worked part time, after the accident, he was still one of the team.
“It would be nothing for him to go off and do 10 or 12 miles just to get out of the house and clear his head,” Cammok admitted. “It was very important for him to be physically active.”
“I was very excited, and very thankful,” Mike said. “I really wanted to do it.”
Fun with Fuzz 5K big turn out. Mt. Vernon Officer McClaughry who was shot in line of duty. Finishing the race. Bp117 pic.twitter.com/ft0ZCZADC5
— Bellingham Police (@BellinghamPD) April 22, 2017
Mike took control of his training and his first milestone was when he reached 3.1 miles. His vision is damaged, and so he sees things as if you were looking through an ice cube, in a somewhat fuzzy manner. Mike learned that he could not push himself too far. He did in fact collapse five times during his training. Even the doctors did not know just how far he could push himself.
“The doctors didn’t know my limit because I was a bit off the charts when it came to recovery time,” he said. “So I had to do just enough to make sure I had the stamina for the 5K, but not too much to risk going down again. I didn’t need another ride to the hospital in an ambulance if I could help it.”
Mike rested a few days before the race and started it with Cammock next to him. Cammock was amazed to see Mike just take off as the starting whistle went. They crossed the line together at a time of 1:06:50, holding hands, and to cheering crowds.
“I had to keep up with him,” Cammock said. “He was like a thoroughbred—he just got out there and went. He carried himself the way he’s always carried himself, and it’s just really inspiring to be around him.”
“It was really special,” Mike said. “I had a great time, and I really enjoyed it.”
Mike says he hopes to participate in many more races. He said that what had kept him going through the 5K was the thought of his children. He says that even having had a traumatic brain injury does not need to slow you down. You can get through it, you may have to simplify your days a little, although Mike has learned to be grateful for each new day that comes along.
Source: Runner’s World