For more than twenty years, being on a bike was second nature for Brig Edwards. But in March of 2003, Edwards was forced to end his semi-professional cycling career when a sedan cut him off in the bike lane.
Edwards crashed into the back of the vehicle and through the rear windshield, fracturing several vertebrae in his neck, breaking his jaw in several places, and crushing the bones of his right eye and cheek.
Two weeks later Edwards returned home from the hospital and began years of reconstructive surgeries. There would be eight surgeries in total, including cranial incisions, bone grafts, and inserting a weight in his eyelid to allow him to close it. At one point his jaw was wired shut and Edwards could only communicate with his family via a white erase board.
Once Edwards was well enough to return to his usual fitness routine, he knew it wasn’t going to be cycling. “With the hazards of cycling, I needed to find something a little safer,” he said in an interview. “I had two children at the time and could not afford to go through the same thing again.” A friend introduced him to CrossFit and it’s been his sport ever since.
A new path.
Edwards set up a garage gym and started following the main site for his programming. Initially, everything he learned about CrossFit came from Internet videos. In 2012, Edwards made it to the CrossFit Games as a Masters Athlete. He has since returned four more times, taking first in the 55-59 division at the 2018 CrossFit Games.
But perhaps one of the most impressive things is his resiliency. The cycling accident left Edwards with permanent double vision. When he jumps to the rings, he sees four. When he jumps on a box, he sees two.
But Edwards refuses to see his remaining health issues as anything other than a challenge. “As bad as the accident was and the problems I still have to deal with as a result of the accident, if it wasn’t for the accident, I would probably still be cycling and would have never found CrossFit,” Edwards said.
Edwards continues to train by himself in his garage and hopes to continue to get better and to stay healthy in CrossFit. He told the CrossFit Journal, “I know the time will come when all of my times and lifts will no longer improve, but I want to prolong that as long as possible.”