Iron Heart: The True Story of How I Came Back from the Dead

Iron Heart: The True Story of How I Came Back from the Dead

by Brian Boyle, Bill Katovsky


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On the way home from swim practice, eighteen-year-old athlete Brian Boyle’s future changed in an instant when a dump truck plowed into his Camaro. He was airlifted to a shock-trauma hospital. He had lost sixty percent of his blood, his heart had moved across his chest, and his organs and pelvis were pulverized. He was placed in a medically-induced coma. When Brian finally emerged from the coma two months later, he had no memory of the accident. He could see and hear, but not move or talk. Unable to communicate to his doctors, nurses, or frantic parents, he heard words like “vegetable” and “nursing home.” If he lived, doctors predicted he might not be able to walk again, and certainly not swim. Then, miraculously, Brian clawed his way back to the living. First blinking his eyelids, then squeezing a hand, then smiling, he gradually emerged from his locked-in state. The former swimmer and bodybuilder had lost one hundred pounds.
Iron Heart is the first-person account of his ordeal and his miraculous comeback. With enormous fortitude he learned to walk, then run, and eventually, to swim. With his dream of competing in the Ironman Triathlon spurring him on, Brian defied all odds, and three and a half years after his accident, crossed the finish line in Kona, Hawaii. Brian’s inspiring journey from coma to Kona is brought to life in his acclaimed memoir.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616083601
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication date: 11/15/2011
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,224,947
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Brian Boyle survived a near fatal car accident in 2004 and then went on to participate in dozens of triathlons and endurance events throughout the world. His memoir, Iron Heart, chronicles his road to recovery and journey into the sport of triathlon. He lives in Maryland.

Read an Excerpt

Iron Heart

The True Story of How I came Back from the Dead

By Brian Boyle, Bill Katovsky

Skyhorse Publishing

Copyright © 2009 Brian Boyle
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62873-143-9



I awake to regular beeping sounds. I'm a lone in a white room and looking straight up at the ceiling. Bright lights shine all around me. My heart is beating fast. I try to raise my arms, then legs, but I can't move them. My head won't budge either. I can't blink or wiggle my fingers.

So what's making those pings and blips? It sounds like a machine, perhaps several. But what are they doing? One machine creates a small burst of air that gently caresses my face. Its slight breeze does not cool my hot skin. I feel beads of sweat pooling on my forehead. When the perspiration rolls down my cheeks and reaches my chapped lips, it soothes them because they are unbelievably dry. My throat is sore and irritated.

A figure dressed in all black appears. Could this be Death? I then notice a small white collar around his neck. Death looks like a priest. Do I know this man? Even so, I can't recognize him because his face remains a blur. Suddenly, my mind swells with a screaming sound. It's a loud, almost deafening noise, as if the priest is yelling in my ear. The sound vibrations are pounding inside my skull, like I'm standing in front of giant speakers at a rock concert. Then the noise somehow turns into actual words spoken in a slow, distorted tone. I strain to make sense of his words: "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit ..." Why is he giving me the last rites? I try to shut down my brain so his words won't affect me. I want him to stop or go away. The room goes dark.

I'm awake. The priest is gone. Everything in my body feels numb. I want to close my eyes, but they won't move or shut. I feel tears welling up. It's like I'm underwater looking up at the surface. With this sensation, a vivid memory arises. I'm suddenly back at the outdoor pool where I used to swim with my younger cousins Matt and Hayley.

"Hey, Matt, watch this!" It has just started to rain and I dive into the water. Through my swim goggles I peer upward at the gray sky, trying to see anything above the water past the reflection and through the many raindrops colliding with the surface. I feel weightless and at peace underwater.

But I'm not in a pool right now. My attention returns to my burning eyes. They feel like they've been open for hours, maybe even days. Is that even possible? Wouldn't they dry out at some point? This thought makes me nauseous; I want to vomit, but that urge is overwhelmed by something even more powerful. My left arm feels like it's on fire. The pain is excruciating. Somebody throw water on me. Please! I'm begging you!

No one comes because I can't speak. So I suffer in isolation and maddening silence. My mind goes blank. I can't remember anything, not even my name. Somehow, without urgent prompting, I remember: Yes, my name is Brian. Brian Boyle. Am I dead? But if I were dead, I wouldn't be able to have these thoughts because dead people can't think, right? But I don't feel normal or alive either. Something is terribly wrong.

Maybe this is just a bad dream. So let's try something to wake up. I can bite my tongue. Bite. Bite and wake up. But I can't bite my tongue because I can't even feel it. Where is it? It has to be in my mouth somewhere. I try again. If I had a tongue in this nightmare it would probably have been bitten off by now. I bite harder. Nothing.

My heart starts beating faster. Its thumping rhythm rises above the eerie silence that's filled my mind. But why is it beating in the center of my chest, which isn't where the heart is located? And something heavy must be sitting on my chest because it's crushing me. The pressure increases. I want to shout, "Get this thing off me, I can't breathe," but I can't make a sound. My heart feels like it's going to explode.

An alarm starts beeping loudly. I see red lights flashing. This is real; it's not happening in a dream.

I hear footsteps. Several. Now I feel many hands on me. Grabbing my feet, arms, head. The hands pick me up, and I'm placed on a table with wheels. Why? What are you doing? And where are you taking me?

Blurry shadows of people cluster around me. Voices are talking loud and fast: something about my heart and emergency surgery. Does this mean that I'm in a hospital? And what's wrong with my heart? Oh man, this can't be good. Mom, Dad, where are you? I need you.

I'm being pushed down all these different hallways. The ceiling looks the same everywhere — large white rectangular sheets of tile broken up by fluorescent lights with clear plastic covers.

The gurney is moving quickly, with several people running alongside. They're also dragging the beeping machines. A large man looms over me. Underneath his white lab coat, he's wearing a light blue button-up shirt. There's a ballpoint pen and two red markers in his front pocket. He's wearing an identification card connected to a lanyard. I struggle to read the name: Dr. James Catevenis, ICU Director, Prince George's Hospital Center.

ICU. That's ... Intensive Care Unit! This has gone from bad to worse. Only people who are critically injured or near death find themselves in Intensive Care.

The moving bed slams into a set of folding doors that swing open. I'm being wheeled into a partially lit room. It's quiet here. Voices echo off the aqua-green tile walls. The bed comes to a complete stop and many hands surround me again, lifting my body onto a cold, hard surface.

People huddle near me. Everyone is wearing light blue surgical wardrobes and white latex gloves. A wide overhead light flicks on; it's bright as the sun. Someone squirts brownish liquid on my chest and rubs it in, and another person places a clear plastic mask over my nose and mouth. A cool, scentless breeze fills the mask.

I stare up at one of the doctors who stands to my left. He must be the head surgeon because he's directing everyone. He says something about fluid building up around my heart. I watch his hands hover near my chest. He's holding a shiny object, which looks sharp, like a scalpel. The overhead light grows brighter. Within seconds, it swallows me in an even brighter flash. The last thing I hear before losing consciousness is the surgeon: "Let's hope the third time is the charm."



I'm in a new room. I hear footsteps, then the sound of shuffling papers. A machine starts up in front of me — the rumble of an air conditioner combined with a microwave's hum. Some footsteps come closer. My bed shakes and moves, but only for a few feet, then halts. The ceiling looks different. I must be near a wall because I see dark areas that could be pictures or posters. My eyes are frozen, staring straight ahead. I can't quite see what the posters are, so I try to move my head but I can't. I see the letter R on one of them, in my peripheral vision. The word is a long one, whatever it is. Maybe I'll be able to see it if my bed starts to move again.

The faint scent of flowers, maybe perfume, pleases me. I see the shadow of a woman standing nearby. A nurse? I wish she would say something.

Papers rustle. The scent of perfume is stronger now. She speaks in a soft whisper: "Brian Boyle, eighteen years old, motor vehicle accident victim, ICU patient since July 6, 2004."

Motor vehicle accident? July 6? I don't remember a thing. No memory of it, just an empty space.

"Brian, can you hear me?" she says loudly into my right ear, startling me. "If you can hear me, blink your eyes. No? Okay, can you squeeze my hand?" She grabs my right hand. "Come on, I know you can do it, buddy. Squeeze my hand just a little bit." She gives it a subtle squeeze but she gets no response in return — no movement whatsoever. "We are all waiting for you to get better. Just hang in there."

Hang in there? Where else can I go? But why do I keep having these weird feelings in the middle of my chest? I feel my heart's regular beating — thump, thump, thump.

"Okay, Mr. Boyle, you're next in line for a CAT scan. Same procedure as this morning. You should be used to it by now." As she walks away, I hear her mutter under her breath, "Poor kid, he's already been through so much."

My mind explodes into a thousand fragments. I see myself walking through a minefield. The ground is made of golden yellow sand, and every few steps that I take, I accidentally set off one of the mines. Boom. There go my legs. My body falls to the ground, but I carry on in shock, dragging forward what's left of me. I set off another mine with my hand. Boom. There goes my left arm. I'm on my back now, bleeding to death, trying to pull myself through the sand with my right arm. I struggle to move a few inches, all the while begging God for answers. I look up at the blue sky, miserable, searching for one last bit of hope. My eyes are burning from the sun's brightness. I then see a small dot in the cloud. Salvation? The dot is getting bigger. The dot becomes this date — July 6.

But what day is it now? And why did she say that I'm used to this? How many of these CAT scans have I had? And just exactly what is a CAT scan? Hey, Ms. Nurse, come back and tell me more!

Those papers she was looking at are right behind me. They must be attached to my bed or something. If I could grab them, I'd get some answers. I try to lift my left arm. Nothing. I try harder. Nothing! Why is this so difficult? What about my other arm? It won't move, either.

My body feels warm. Cool drops of sweat pool on my forehead, slowly pausing at my eyebrows. But when the sweat rolls into my eyes, it burns like acid. I can't do anything to stop the pain, but at least I feel pain. I stare at the ceiling, trying to think of something else.

What is that word on the side of the wall, the one that starts with the R? It's driving me batty. Maybe if I can figure out what that word is, I can start figuring out why I'm here.

I shift my attention to the ceiling, then the wall, then back to the ceiling. I count the little specks of holes in the ceiling. My throat is dry; I desperately need water.

My mind returns to the unexplained, totally baffling reality of being in Intensive Care. I hear footsteps again. They are coming from behind, off to the right. It must be the woman. I smell her perfume. She is close, fidgeting with some machine. I hear the click and clack of buttons being pressed. Am I about to enter the CAT scan machine? I don't know why, but I feel like I'm about to enter the slaughterhouse.

An electronic beeping starts and I sense motion. I'm moving forward on some kind of conveyer belt and getting closer to the machine. It's a looming big white plastic mountain dotted with countless small neon green lights.

The machine stops. It's swallowed me whole and I'm its hostage. A frightening, cold robotic voice says: "Please hold your breath for thirty seconds." I try to obey the machine's stern command but can't hold my breath. My lungs are expanding and contracting on their own.

"Please hold your breath for thirty seconds," the voice repeats. Hey, can you give me a moment? I want to yell, I can't do this! Take the damn scan already! I try to hold my breath again, but can't. My heart and brain are racing to see which can go faster, and my heart takes the lead. The neon lights fade, the buzzing gets louder. Liquid fire returns to my left arm. I'm nauseous and dizzy.

The machine spits me back out. Perhaps it didn't like my taste.

I am naked. A soft breeze flows over me. My body is rigid, stiff as a plank of wood. The room is quiet, except for the beeping I heard when I was back in that other room. I drift off because my mind prefers to go on standby.

Then I hear a soft whisper from an elderly woman. "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee." My right hand is slightly raised, as if someone is holding it. "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus." I can't see her because my eyes are taped shut. All I see is the gloomy, dark hue inside my eyelids. The voice continues, "Now and at the hour of our death." She begins reciting the rosary. Why is she saying this? And how did she know I'm Catholic? As she recites each line, darkness descends once more, like a welcoming friend offering me escape.

I emerge from what must be deep sleep. I'm not sure how long I have been out. I don't even know what to call it when everything goes dark and my mind turns off. Another day or two or three has passed; I can't tell. Fortunately, my eyelids are no longer taped closed. My vision is blurry, but I notice a large white space above me. Yes, the ceiling. It seems familiar. I'm back in the first room.

But why is my heart racing? I'm sweating profusely, or is it blood? Maybe both? I'm drenched in some disgusting broth and it feels like it's oozing out of my left side. I want to look down, but I can't move my head, though I have a peculiar prickly sensation running from head to toe. The pain is like a thousand needles stabbing me. My skin is getting hotter, and I feel at any moment my body will burst into flames. But at the same time, I am chilled, as if there are ice packs jammed under my arms and legs.

I still hear the fan's whirr. Every now and then, a small alarm goes off, and then a beeping begins. It seems like a nurse comes in every fifteen minutes. I can only guess, since time has no meaning. The nurses keep telling me that I've been in a serious car accident, but I have no recollection of an accident. The last thing I remember is my family's Fourth of July picnic held on July 3.

The picnic takes place every year and is organized by my dad's concrete construction company. My mom and I always tag along as my dad's guests, but even so, he spends most of the time reintroducing us to his coworkers. The day is warm and sunny. I smell hot dogs and hamburgers cooking on the grill. Kids are playing and laughing in the background. Layered over those sounds are several conversations taking place among the adults.

I step away from the crowd and walk toward a large grassy field. I want to get away from all the commotion and reflect on my plans for the fall. I'm looking forward to attending St. Mary's College of Maryland — which is only an hour away from home. In the spring of my high school senior year, my parents and I met with their swim coach, Andre Barbins. I had a 4.0 grade point average, took several advanced placement courses, and was captain of my high school swim team, which was top-ranked in the state. Andre told me that I was going to be one of his top recruits. For the first few weeks of summer, I trained in the pool at the local recreation center while helping my dad with odd jobs like landscaping or going out to work sites with him.

I walk back to the crowded picnic and stay for the fireworks. That's the last thing I remember from the picnic, or anything else, before everything turns blank. My memory ceases from that point on.

I take a closer inspection of the room. The ceiling is etched in my brain; I've grown accustomed to its speckled pattern. One afternoon, when nurses are changing my gown and have turned me over, I see the room is crowded with at least a dozen electrical monitors.

A nurse enters my room. "Brian, honey, can you blink for me today?" she asks in a tone suggesting that she really isn't expecting an answer. I try to blink, but it's impossible. She gently rolls me on my right side while she checks a tube connected with the left part of my stomach. I now have a new view of the right side of the room that I haven't seen before. I realize that the fan is not a fan at all. I look closer at the small label that says Ventilator in big bold letters. I have a machine breathing for me. That's why I couldn't hold my breath in the CAT scan machine. If all these machines are keeping me alive, what does that mean? The white ceiling dims to charcoal.



One morning, the sliding glass door to my room is open. My bed is raised at a slight incline, but my angle of view is limited since I can't move my head or eyes. Doctors and nurses are walking around in white coats and light blue scrubs. I recognize one whose face I saw on his identification card, Dr. James Catevenis. He checks on me frequently. He's drinking coffee, talking to a nurse who looks like she had a rough morning. Orderlies and nurses roll along people of all ages, some still connected to IVs, on gurneys.

A middle-aged woman and her daughter stop by my open door to ask a nurse a question. The daughter peeks into my room; then her eyes widen and she shouts, "Mommy, there's a monster in that room!" The woman glances at me and then says to her, "Oh, good Lord, honey, don't look at him." She grabs her daughter and rushes off. My mind sinks in absolute shame. I'm no longer human, just a half creature kept alive by machines like in a horror film. What have I done to deserve such harsh, unjust punishment?

An alarm goes off and everyone rushes to the room on my right. It blares for several minutes before ceasing. Soon, a gurney with a white sheet covering the body appears in the hallway. I'm starting to envy ICU patients en route to the morgue. At least their suffering is over and they are at peace. What if I have to spend the rest of my life trapped like this? Why should it be otherwise? I have all the time in the world to ponder this matter.


Excerpted from Iron Heart by Brian Boyle, Bill Katovsky. Copyright © 2009 Brian Boyle. Excerpted by permission of Skyhorse Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Title Page,
Copyright Page,

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Iron Heart: The True Story of How I Came Back from the Dead 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
tjoffe More than 1 year ago
We all had our bad days. But this kid had a day that we couldnt wish upon our worst enemy. I cried and was happy many times reading this book, it was truly a inspiring story, by any means necessary! i will make it. This is a book to give to anybody that says,.,, no i cant.. Yes you can.. ask Brian
metfan More than 1 year ago
Swimmer/bodybuilder/triathlete Brian Boyle tells the story of his comeback from a near-fatal car crash in this powerful,uplifting memoir. He writes with passion and honesty about his long road back.Yes,the book is sad at many points,but Brian does not ask for the reader's sympathy. Instead,he inspires as he finds the strength and determinataion to save himself.He comes across as very intelligent and articulate.Well-written and illustrated,men,sports fans,and anyone who just likes a good story will love this.One of the best books of the year.
CaitZ on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Brian Boyle has just graduated from high school when he's in a terrible car accident. This is the story of his recovery and his quest to compete in an Ironman triathlon. Very compelling.
Bluenose-Wanderer More than 1 year ago
Bryan Boyle at 18 a bodybuilder and elite swimmer is involved in a horrific collision the trauma of which he survived based in no small part on his superb physical conditioning. The book follows him through months of semi-consciousness, paralysis, recovery and physiotherapy. One feels empathy for his plight but at around the two-thirds mark the book degenerates into the story of just another dumb jock bragging about the size of his biceps, the weight he can bench, the girth of his chest. At least we're spared the dimensions of his erections. The final chapters involve his Ironman Competitions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MinTwinsNY More than 1 year ago
Rating:   4 of 5 stars (very good) Review: Brian Boyle was a high school athlete who competed on the school swimming and track teams.  He was an accomplished swimmer – accomplished enough to earn a scholarship to a local college.  He also dreamed of one day competing in a triathlon.  Those dreams seemed to have died off on July 6, 2007 when he was severely injured in an automobile accident. There is no need to list all of the injuries suffered here, as Brian does that during this account of his story.  He tells of those believing he has no chance for survival, but through his will to live, unlimited parental support and the care and guidance of many medical professionals, he will not only survive, but be able to walk again and carry out daily functions. The story of his recovery took a larger portion of the book than I had anticipated, as the title might suggest.  The synopsis talks about his determination to compete in a triathlon – and not just any triathlon – it is the Kona Ironman triathlon, one of the toughest courses.   After Brian has regained enough strength to do some jogging and gets back in the pool, he decides to train for this.  A production crew from NBC follows him and his training for first a half-triathlon in Michigan before the Kona Ironman.  The short amount of time he had for this seems incredible, but being able to finish these races is a testament to his determination and is an inspiring story for all of us. What I liked best about the book is that it takes the reader into the mind of an athlete. This is evident even while Brian is in the hospital, as he talks at times about his scholastic swimming and field events like the discus and shot put. Then, during not only his training for the triathlon, but also during his recovery, physical therapy and even bodybuilding (he did that before training for the triathlon), Brian talks about what he is thinking while in this phase. He has his doubts, his highs and lows, and many adventures along the way.  These are interspersed throughout the passages, making the reader keenly aware of what he is thinking about as well as what he is physically doing in order to make this dream a reality. This book was a good choice to listen to as well as the narrator did a very good job of reflecting the feelings behind Brian’s thoughts as well.  I felt these came out better on audio than they would have if I read the printed version.  It is a well-written memoir that people will enjoy if they like inspirational stories.  Pace of the book:   For the most part, Brian’s story moved along at a good pace.  Not being a triathlete, the sections when he listed what exercises were in his daily training regiment, I admit to skimming over these by fast forwarding to the next section.    Do I recommend?   For an inspirational story or for a story where a seemingly impossible goal can be achieved, this book delivers on both of those accounts. However, if the reader wants to learn what goes on in the mind of an athlete, this book does well for that as well. Book Format Read: Audio book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I truely love this book it inspires those to fight their way to living.... #livelikeyouweredying If u love true stories this book is for YOU!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This review is from a true, autobiography called, Iron Heart by Brian Boyle which is about an athlete that almost loses his opportunity to live. The story takes place in the year 2004, when Brian Boyle, eighteen years of age, was on his way home from swim practice heading to his parent’s home in Maryland. At one particular intersection a dump truck driving very fast crashed into his sports car, totaling the car and putting Brian’s life in jeopardy. It all happened in a split second and his life changed forever from that day on. His courage and family support got him through this heart felt ordeal. He describes his journey back to life and three years later crosses the finish line at the Kona Ironman in Hawaii. It is amazing how he takes the readers through his entire experience. Brian suffered a lot of internal injuries and lost 60 percent of the blood in his body. He was air lifted by helicopter to a nearby trauma unit. The doctors had to jump start his heart eight times during his surgery. The doctors put him in a chemical-induced coma to help lessen his pain for two months. He was such an amazing athlete as a swimmer and a bodybuilder it was hard to visualize him being like this. His parents sat by his bedside every day and wondered what his condition was going to be like and if he was going to stay alive. He was unable to speak, blink or signal to anyone but he was able to hear the nurses, doctors and his parents around him. He had no memory of the accident and the doctor’s referred to his condition as the “lock-down” state. At this point in the book he describes the period of time of being in the coma and the reader feels as if it is them experiencing this first hand. It is so detailed and intriguing to read about every moment that he went through as he fought to recover. It was about a month and a half when he started to regain consciousness knowing what his surroundings were and that he wasn’t crazy. He expresses in his words that the doctors did not know if he would ever talk, walk, sit up, be mentally okay, or ever function again on his own. They were predicting that he would be a vegetable. This book really hit a nerve in me that made me think how important life is and that in just a split second with no control your life can change. It made me feel really sad because he was such an athlete, and seemed to have everything going for him. His body and his looks were changed in a split second. I was amazed by his courage and his bravery. I thought it was amazing all of the thoughts that he had in his head as all of the others were around him. That must be such a weird feeling and very helpless. I liked the way that the book was written because I did not want to put it down and I highly recommend reading it. I liked the fact that the details were being stated by him in first person and you knew exactly what he was thinking. It gave a real sense of what it would be like, even though it was scary and sad it was interesting! If you like reading about athletes and like reading about overcoming obstacles in life this is the book for you. It compares to the life story of Lance Armstrong and Brian Song, the football player that struggled to survive. All great athletes that were dealt an unfortunate twist in life! MG
Shirli Cohen More than 1 year ago
This is a truly amazing book that i would definitely reccomend. The inspiring true story about hiw this man bounced back from a devastating experience almost brought tears to my eyes. Wonderful book, amazing story.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing to read. It gave me inspriation to try harder and push myself to do the best that I can. It broke my heart to hear that a boy that young had gone through things that not even most full grown men have gone through. His parents must have been on the verge of crying when they saw their boy in the ICU. They must also be very thankful and proud that he made it all the way through. Again truely inspirational.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is an inspiration and teaches one to never give up even in the bad times, when things seem like they can't get any worst. Great story and best of luck in the future Brian!
Rachel_Gearhart_Hughes More than 1 year ago
This book was so hard to put down! Brian describes his story in such a way that you can almost feel the confusion and desolation that he felt lying in the hospital bed, the struggle and determination he experienced during rehabilitation, and even the joy and triumph as he is able to regain the feeling of "life" once again in a new, more enlightened way!
AshleyHalsey More than 1 year ago
There is no better story of a miraculous comeback than Brian Boyle's. There is more to it than was revealed by the spotlight NBC trained on him during the 2007 Ironman in Kona, more than the ESPN feature and more than he told Ellen DeGeneres last year. In "Iron Heart" the story unfolds through Boyle's own eyes. These are the things that Boyle did not know when his world came into blurred focus one day and he found himself in an intensive care unit bed. He did not remember driving toward home after a summer swim practice. He had no recollection of the massive dump truck that broadsided his Camaro, crushing it from the driver side like a tin can. No memory of being cut from the car or flown to the trauma center. And, pinned to the bed without the ability to move, speak or acknowledge that he was conscious, he had no way to find out. "I'm alone in a white room and looking straight up at the ceiling. Bright lights shine all around me. My heart is beating fast. I try to raise my arms, then legs, but I can't move them. My head won't budge either. I can't blink or wiggle my fingers." And then he realizes a priest is beside him, giving last rites. Had he not been an 18-year-old state champion swimmer and body builder when the truck struck, Boyle would have died in the wreckage. In the aftermath, his ability to beat the odds could put every bookie out of business. Would brain function recover? Yes. Would he walk again? Yes. Would he swim again? Yes. Run? Yes. Bike? Yes. Realize his dream of doing an Ironman? Yes. The word "miracle" is overused these days, but when the full scope Boyle's dance with death is played out, the genuine miracle of his trip to Kona is underscored.
Hugh06 More than 1 year ago
As a family member reading this book is reliving some very difficult times. Finishing the book (one sitting) is an absolute joy! The actual writing is terrific, the flow smooth and it is a captivating read. The real story isn't about Brian eventually running at Kona but rather about Brian, with tremendous support from family and friends and many unknowns, first....deciding to live...then to return....then to excel. He displays the attributes we all include when describing our Heros. All of which is told through eyes many of us will never have the chance to see through again. The story grabs you in the first chapter and makes you feel a part of it all the way to the end...actually only the book ends. Brian's story continues as he targets helping others meet their own challenges that seem too much to bear. As I have already given the book to someone who is now in need of inspriation I can vouch for that. Iron Heart has special meaning but perhaps this should be called "All Heart"....Brian finished Kona (and will do that again but faster) not because of physical training but because he decided to. This book will teach everyone the power of passion, determination and the value of family and friends.
vickiseets More than 1 year ago
Iron-Heart is a well written book by an amazing person. Brian Boyle is an inspiring and dedicated person who has proven that he can do anything he wants. I feel its an honor to have read his story. This is an amazing book, inspiring everyone who reads it. Congrats to Brian for his accomplishments!!!
Catherine17 More than 1 year ago
Brian Boyle's true story of how he battled the odds and overcame a life threatening car accident to become an Ironman Triathlete brings a touching story of survival. With great emotion, Brian Boyle's book will show how his courage and determination took him on a journey from almost dead to extreme triumph. He is a truly inspirational young man and he will teach you, that no matter what your circumstances are, don't ever give up!!!! This book is definitely a "must read" for all!!!!
matthew516 More than 1 year ago
There are 3 reasons why this book should be read by anyone wanting to be inspired or motivated: First, it is incredibly well written; second, the story is nothing short of a miracle; and third, the the central person in the story (the author) is one of those rare individuals that leads you to believe in the phenominal power of the human spirit. This is not a story of a car accident and the recovery. It is an exploration into the mind of an incredible athlete who draws the reader into experiencing everything the he experienced. The reader feels what is like to come out of a coma and see the blinking of an eye or the slighest smile as huge achievements in communication. And the reader also feels the pain and exhiliration of completeing the swimming, biking and running of an Iron Man Triathlon. The book centers on the person, the struggle and the success rather than on the details of a tragedy. Miraculous healing, everpresent parental support and intense athletic drive seem to be the formula that led Brian Boyle to not only recover from this horrific accident but to defy medical science and go from a 2 month coma the a 14 hour IronMan triathlon in under 2 1/2 years. Read the book, share it with your friends, give it to someone needing to overcome struggles in their own lives.
60 More than 1 year ago
haven't read it yet