Miracle Athlete Beats Death and Wins a Race

Luck, fate and determination saved his life and brought him to the finish line

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    NEWSLETTERS

    WCAU

    A Pennsylvania man defied science and logic when he bounced back from the brink of death to triumph in a triathalon.

    While riding on Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountain bike trail in preparation for his upcoming race, a car smashed into 21-year-old Matt Miller, leaving him fighting for his life.  If it wasn't for a unbelievable twist of fate, Miller says, he might not be around today.

    "There's an anesthesiologist in the car behind me," Miller said, in disbelief. "If I had to choose one person to be in the car behind the car which hit me, it would be an anesthesiologist.  They are trained to keep people's airways open."

    That's a skill that quickly came in handy, as Miller stopped breathing shortly after the accident.

    Game Changers: Turning Tragedy Into Triumph

    [PHI] Game Changers: Turning Tragedy Into Triumph
    Matt Miller should have been dead after crashing face first into a car. He was on a bike. But less than a year later, he has trumped medical predictions and placed first in Saturday's running of the Philadelphia Triathlon.

    Once he arrived at the hospital, he underwent complete facial reconstruction with the use of titanium plates and screws. Everyone anticipated that his recovery would be long and arduous, but the athlete shocked doctors with the speed of his recovery.

    He left the hospital in under a month, and was back on his training regimen in just 8 months.

    "You are defeated when you give up," he said. "Because then your biggest supporter, yourself, is not in the game anymore."

    As his first triathlon since the accident neared, Miller used his tough recovery experience to drive him. He told himself if he got to a point in the race that seemed particularly difficult, he'd just tell himself, "No, this is not hard. Lying in a hospital not being able to move for 12 hours -- that's hard."

    Miller came in first place in his age category and sixth overall.