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Success Story: Full-Throttle Recovery and Growth

James Grage’s near-death experience makes him an expert in both.

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If you know anything about how muscles grow, then you understand that every workout tears down muscle tissue. After a training session, your body repairs damage with the aid of the nutrition and supplements you’ve taken in before and after. Now imagine the recovery that comes with breaking more than a dozen bones, including at least one in every limb.

On April 14, 1999, 24-year-old James Grage was driving to San Jose to sign a new job contract. A pheasant flew across the road, and Grage swerved his 1974 Porsche 911 to avoid the bird and nearly destroyed himself. The car fishtailed and was hit twice by a truck. Grage, perhaps ejected through the sunroof, landed 95 feet away from the mangled Porsche, adding a more pressing meaning to his car’s 911 moniker.

This may sound like the classic story of a rich guy getting his come-uppance, but Grage was a young bodybuilder, down on luck, and with his last ten bucks tucked into his wallet for gas. He desperately needed the job. His bad luck was about to take a turn for the worse, but this story has a happy ending for everyone, including the pheasant that escaped, unscathed. 

For the full story, including what Grage's surgeon Will Doherty, Ph.D., M.D. said about the accident, pick-up the November 2013 issue of MENSFITNESS!

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DAMAGED GOODS

Grage was launched from the vehicle, he believes, when the twisted metal from the car severed the seatbelt. The car was destroyed [see photo above]. And so was Grage: He broke both femurs, and the left one gouging through his quadriceps muscles, breaking the skin, both lower legs folded behind his back. His pelvis was broken, and so were several ribs, both arms, and many smaller bones as well. His left arm was crushed, and the tendons and nerves of his right hand were severed.

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But the human body is capable of miracles, particularly when you have the will. The mind-muscle connection transcends workouts. Grage initially feared he was paralyzed; his doctors told him there was some hope he would walk again, but only after a lot of hard work. He spent six weeks in the hospital.

The classic saying is that, as you age, you get the face you deserve. The same can be said about your body. Genetics will only take you so far. James Grage’s body, 190 pounds of muscular perfection, was nearly destroyed. He worked hard to recover, and he’s earned the right, almost 15 years later, to look as good as he does.

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