Rich Jaure Finds Meaning in Life-Threatening Injury
17-year-old Rich Jaure might strike you as a typical CrossFit teen. He’s one of many that have flocked to the sport in the last six years since the induction of the CrossFit Games teen division. Jaure could talk for hours about Semifinals programming and the athletes he looks up to as he hopes to one day make CrossFit a career in the individual side of the sport.
But placing 83rd in the 2021 Age Group Online Qualifier was anything but extraordinary for this Arizona native. Just three years ago he was rushed to the hospital for emergency brain surgery.
The crash: Just days after placing 55th in his first AGOQ at age 14, Jaure was riding ATV’s with his friends when tragedy struck.
- He swerved to avoid a garage door and hit a brick wall head on at about 25-35 miles per hour without wearing helmet.
- Jaure’s injuries were so severe he underwent a five-hour craniotomy (brain surgery), to correct what the doctors said could be an injury that left him paralyzed or unable to speak.
- “It was kind of crazy, because afterward, the doctor told us that if I would’ve been wearing a helmet, my neck would’ve snapped in half, and I probably wouldn’t be able to walk,” Jaure remembers.
The recovery: After the procedure Jaure was only in the hospital for 12 days, a rather short hospital stay after undergoing brain surgery. Once he was discharged back home, he underwent a three month period where he needed to keep his heart rate under 120 BPM, followed by an addition three months before he was fully back in the gym.
- “The way I had see it (through the recovery process), from the time I woke up and they took the breathing tube out, I was at rock bottom and there’s only one way to go now,” Jaure explained. “So as long as my heart is still beating and I have breath in my lungs I’m going to keep moving forward.”
Jaure continued to train for the next three years, making an impressive four out of four possible AGOQs. As he now gets closer to entering the Individual Division, he has a greater appreciation for the influence that elite athletes can make on youngsters.
- “It’s cool because they help other kids, too. They say ‘hey, you can do this too, somebody is able to do it so if you put in the time and dedicate yourself to it, you can do it too,’” he explained. “I would like to shine light on the sport with teens, and how you can use the sport to take care of your health and as a form of medicine. Because, especially with younger adults, it can be used to take care of your health and you can get good at so many things.”
The bottom line: While Jaure’s traumatic injury has helped shaped who he’s become, he says it also inspired him to be an ambassador for the sport by helping others who may be struggling or endure a life-altering injury too.
- “(The injury) helped me gain a stronger drive for CrossFit, to become better and help people around me who want to get better. I want to get better at CrossFit and help people, whether that be by seeing my story and being inspired, or wanting to train with me, or wanting to talk…I want to use that because I don’t want to just do it for myself. If I’m not making a difference in other people’s lives, then why am I doing it?”