The RoadBack by michael vitez
In The Road Back, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Michael Vitez writes about Matthew Miller, 20, a member of the University of Virginia triathlon club. Matt had just pedaled up a mountain pass and was on top of the world in so many ways, in love, with dreams of attending medical school, so fit his resting pulse was 42! And then, cycling along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, he was hit by a Porsche, face first, at 45 miles per hour. He broke every bone in his face and suffered severe brain injury. He stopped breathing. The real story is not what happened, but what happened after. The Road Back is the incredible, humbling, miraculous story of Matt’s survival and recovery, all the way to an Ironman, and medical school. It is a story, truly, of grace and grit. Matt Miller's story really is The Perfect Storm in reverse -- everything had to go flawlessly for him to have any chance of survival. And it did! This is a story in which America shines.
THE ROAD BACK is not only about a young man’s drive to reclaim his life, but about the people who rode with him, rescued him, helped him heal, and saw up close his amazing comeback.
"One of the things I love best about this book," said Vitez, "is that this was a kid who had been given everything – an affluent and loving family, a sharp mind, terrific athleticism -- and he recognized he'd been given these gifts and felt a responsibility to make the most of them. And when adversity struck, he doubled down, drew from deep within himself, and grew even more determined to fulfill the promise of his life, to make the most of his gifts and this greatest gift, his second chance.
"I have made it my mission as a writer to celebrate life, to look for the good in people, to inspire when I can,” said Vitez, a journalist with The Philadelphia Inquirer, who won the Pulitzer in 1997 for a series of stories on end of life care in America. “And I found so much goodness in this book. I love the family history, showing where Matt got his grit and work ethic. I love his mother's humility and strength. This book is my canvas to paint my view of America, a true and remarkable story."
"This has been a great adventure for me, and in a way I feel like a pioneer," Vitez said.
Many have raved about The Road Back. Here are four short reviews:
“The Road Back is an incredible story of survival and recovery against all odds. Matt Miller’s focus and determination are unbelievable and inspiring — I’ll never again have an excuse not to get out and train.” –Erin Donohue, 2008 U.S. Olympian, 1500 meter run.
“I read it in one day. LOVED it! Matt Miller’s story is one of inspiration and perseverance. Mr. Vitez’s writing is captivating as he describes the unwavering fortitude that brought Matt from near death to medical school and Ironman success. Matt’s character and love of life remind me so much of my brother… amazing book about an amazing man.” – Maddy Crippen, 2000 U.S. Olympian, 400 meter individual medley, and sister of the late Fran Crippen. Fran plays a key role in Matt’s story.
“This engaging account of Matt Miller’s unwavering positive attitude and determination in the face of a near death injury is inspiring. As a former collegiate athlete, enthusiastic marathon runner and the current owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, I can truly appreciate the effort it took for Matt to recover and finish the Ironman in such an impressive time. Philadelphia should be proud to call Matt and his fianceé Emily its own. “ – Josh Harris, owner Philadelphia 76ers, co-founder Apollo Global Management, former University of Pennsylvania wrestler, marathoner, and aspiring triathlete.
“This is an absorbing, well-written, and inspiring book about a special young man who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. The medical accounts were accurate and compelling, and I think anyone with an interest in recovery from neurological injury would enjoy this book.” – Dong H. Kim, chief of neurosurgery at the University of Texas Medical School, who treated Congresswoman Gabby Giffords during her rehabilitation.