From Devastating Prognosis to Parapan Am Athlete

Ryan Boyle’s Inspirational Story

August 03, 2015 by Ryan Burke, Sales and Marketing Director

Ryan Boyle, who recovered from a traumatic brain injury, para-cycling to the finish lineHere at Rifton we often hear remarkable stories of triumph in the face of insurmountable odds. Each story is a testament to the amazing people our products are designed to serve. Sometimes one can anticipate a customer-story, but every once in a while you encounter someone who has a story to share when you least expect it.

Last week I was having what I assumed would be a routine lunch time break. Three guests had joined us from the Maryknoll Lay Missioners. They were telling about the work they do around the world, and Matt Boyle, the director of Mission Advancement, ended his presentation by sharing the story of his son Ryan. I pricked up my ears.

At age nine, Ryan was riding a trike at a friend’s party. A passing truck ran him over and dragged him several yards. He suffered massive brain injury and several broken bones. Paramedics were ready to pronounce him dead, but he was taken to the hospital and received emergency brain surgery. While this saved his life, he was left with a devastating prognosis: his doctors believed he might only regain the ability to type with one hand. Everything else was lost and had to be relearned: breathing, swallowing, eating, sitting, standing and walking.

And this is where such stories become epic. Ryan fought back for years. He pushed himself through grueling therapy to regain all what he’d lost, including months of work in a Rifton Pacer to recover the ability to walk. Today, his proud father told us, Ryan is competing in an international para-cycling competition in Switzerland, preparing to represent the United States at the Parapan Am Games in Toronto this month. He is ranked number one in the U.S. in this event.

Ryan has his own website and has written a book titled “When the Lights Go Out: A Boy Given a Second Chance.”

Needless to say, Ryan just grew his fan club with a team of boosters here at Rifton!


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