After a motorcycle accident, David Mendoza found himself stuck in a hospital bed for months. His famously positive attitude and competitive nature eventually got him back on his feet.
TRAIN: What do you remember about the accident?
David Mendoza: Riding my motorcycle, I was blindsided by a speeding car. Both my legs were broken, with my left femur piercing through. I broke both ankles, fractured my hip, dislocated my shoulder, broke my wrist, displaced my kidney, tore my bladder, and fractured my spine. I woke up three days later in the hospital, covered in bandages and questioned whether I’d ever be able to walk again.
How did you stay positive and determined?
I’ve always been very competitive and dedicated myself to working harder than anyone else. Coming back from this was just a different kind of challenge. Setbacks happen for a reason, and previous life experiences taught me inner strength and calmness. I’d done meditation and worked on how to clear my mind, focus inwardly, and take better control of situations that affect me.
How did you deal with the long road to recovery?
I put on about 30lb, but knew I could easily lose the weight later, and my body needed the extra nutrients to repair. Slowly I bent my legs and every inch I bent them was a huge accomplishment. I also squeezed muscles in bed to gain control over them.
How did you get back on your feet?
After getting cleared to lift weights again, I started walking seven miles home from PT. The next day, I was so sore and never realized how many muscles were involved in just walking. I met my first goal of losing the 30 pounds of body fat. My next goal was to build my strength back and squat again. I had to start with just the bar, but I worked back up to 275lb for 10 reps. I made 325 [for reps] my next goal. I also brought my bench back to 225 pounds for four reps. It took two years.
Where do you go from here?
I want to continue progressing until I’m even stronger than I was before the accident. I’ve set new, higher goals. I want to be able to squat 425lb for 10 reps again, bench over 300, and run a 400-meter dash in under 56 seconds. The successes I’ve achieved mean I can still do more. I can say without a shred of doubt that anything is possible for me.
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