Unstoppable: How Jamie MoCrazy Has Redefined Success While Navigating Society With A Traumatic Brain Injury
There are habits you can build that help with everything you struggle with after a TBI. for example, if you are struggling with short term memory of where you put objects try going through steps like only putting the object in one location if you let it off your hands, then say out loud three times where you are putting the object to trigger your memory retention, and the last step is the say in your head three times where you are placing the object.
As a part of our “Unstoppable” series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jamie MoCrazy.
By the time she was 18 years old, Jamie MoCrazy had won junior world championships and moved to Utah to continue training as a professional slopestyle and halfpipe skier. In 2013, she went on to become the first woman in the world to land a double backflip at x- games.
In 2015, Jamie experienced a horrific crash at the world tour finals that resulted in her going into a coma, sustaining a traumatic brain injury (tbi) and becoming paralyzed. In an instant, Jamie went from being one of the world’s best slopestyle skiers to relearning basic gross motor skills like walking upstairs and riding a bike.
Despite the monumental challenges, Jamie’s family made the decision to use their education and belief to not let the results of this traumatic accident keep her down and Jamie progressed farther than any medical diagnosis said was possible. Today, MoCrazy strong inc raises awareness for tbi as well as educates on recovery. Jamie develops keynotes that teach others how to climb alternative peaks after set back and believe in that 1% chance.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! It is really an honor. Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Growing up I was always adventurous, competitive and doing things that got me the lifelong nickname MoCrazy which has turned into my legal last name. My ski career developed into competing on the world tour, becoming the first woman in the world to land a double backflip at X-Games and traveling the world full time.
Do you feel comfortable sharing with us the story surrounding how you became disabled or became ill? What mental shift did you make to not let that “stop you”?
On April 11th, 2015 I was competing at world tour finals in Whistler, Canada. Jeanee, my little sister was at the event as it was the first world tour finals she had made to compete at. My mom was at my old house in Connecticut where my dad lives looking at schools with my youngest sibling. After my first run I was sitting in 4th place, not on the podium! So I upgraded my off axis backflip to an off axis double backflip. On landing that trick I caught an edge and whiplashed my head into the snow. My brain started bleeding in 8 spots, I hurt my right brain stem causing paralysis to my right side. Jeanee was watching, she saw I didn’t hit the next jump and heard the ski patrol radio crackle to life saying we need all hands on deck and a helicopter on standby. Mama Fruit was walking on the beach when she received a phone call saying her daughter was in the ICU. When my mom asked if I was still alive, the response was: “yes, for the moment.”
I was in a coma for 10 days, with series amnesia for six weeks. After my coma I had relearn all basic gross motor skills and primary functions. When I started getting my memory back after my TBI I refused to believe I was in a hospital, I would tell the nurses I was in a movie about a hospital. The first recovery of relearning every basic gross motor skill and how to read and write again was very visible and much easier then the later parts dealing with my cognition and emotion. I received recognition and praise for relearning how to ride a bike, and since I had been an athlete my entire life I was used to pushing my body beyond its current capabilities. My emotion and cognition took years to heal and stabilize. Those years of struggle and relearning were invisible and it was very hard to pinpoint progress.
Can you tell our readers about the accomplishments you have been able to make despite your disability or illness ?
I had the choice to turn my accident into my biggest tragedy or biggest triumph. When I was in the process of building habits and choosing the paths I walked down it would have been so easy to turn my TBI and the challenges and deficits I was experiencing into a huge liability instead of creating my TBI to have the strength it does today. I chose to take what I learned during my TBI recovery to help better and change protocol and decisions surrounding brain injury recovery as well as giving motivational keynotes that help the audience understand miracles do happen and every time there is that 1% chance you need to do everything in your power to make your dreams come true. We have much more power regarding the outcomes we experience from TBI then we previously believed. With an understanding of neuroplasticity we know we can rebuild our brain after TBI damages. I have amazing videos and can tell the story in such a way that the audience cries and then leaves the keynote feeling inspired and understanding a way to overcome the struggles in their lives.
What advice would you give to other people who have disabilities or limitations?
Look at your current life and capabilities to see how you can get to the destination you want while taking alternative paths to get there. We all have the capabilities to accomplish amazing feats regardless of ability level or limitation.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
There are many people who helped me get to where I am today. I am so grateful for the vast support I received and the education my family had to create the recovery I experienced. My mom used her education of psychology and brain development, my oldest sister was a doctor who became my primary care physician while I was in the coma, my next sister used her naturopathic medicine education to complement the technological medicine I was receiving.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I stayed very connected to the brain injury community. Brain injuries are a struggle we live with that is quite often not recognized and dealt with because a mild TBI is invisible when it is causing deficits. The medical knowledge around TBI is also changing because of understanding the way to rebuild synaptic connections. I raise awareness, change protocol and educate on TBI as well as tell my miraculous story as a motivational speaker, inspiring the audience to believe in miracles and fight for that 1% chance. We need to build peer to peer in the TBI communities so individuals don’t feel so alone. We also need to build permanent statewide brain injury systems. Brain injury recovery takes way longer and goes way past the hospital or even the outpatient therapy. We need to support individuals beyond the time when their outpatient therapy ends and make simple changes to returning to the workforce so TBI individuals can benefit society and not become an economic drain for the rest of their lives. A little more awareness, change in protocols and upfront funding will go a long way in aiding TBI individuals as well as helping out the US economy.
Can you share “5 things I wish people understood or knew about people with physical limitations” and why.
- TBI gives you invisible limitations
- You can heal from the deficits that develop from TBI if you take action to heal
- Nutrition and food choice affects the outcomes you develop after a TBI. Stay away from highly processed foods and sugar!
- After you receive a mild TBI/ concussion you don’t want to go into the dark and sleep, you want to gently stimulate your brain so you can rebuild your synaptic connections and nerve pathways.
- There are habits you can build that help with everything you struggle with after a TBI. for example, if you are struggling with short term memory of where you put objects try going through steps like only putting the object in one location if you let it off your hands, then say out loud three times where you are putting the object to trigger your memory retention, and the last step is the say in your head three times where you are placing the object.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
Be your own personal best.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
I would like to tell Taylor Swift how much her music and specifically her song, Style, inspired me during my recovery and has stayed my theme song. I wanted to come back after I went crashing down and I never wanted to go out of style.
Unstoppable: How Jamie MoCrazy Has Redefined Success While Navigating Society With A Traumatic… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.