From Tragedy to Triumph

By Patrick Whaley

In The CrossFit Life

August 30, 2012

PDF Article

Patrick Whaley’s life almost ended when he was assaulted, robbed and shot in the chest. Thanks to hard work, an ingenious invention and CrossFit, Whaley is still alive and stronger than ever.

When I was a little kid I was really skinny. As a way to build up muscle, I would carry around extra books in my book bag. I started thinking, “What if I could have normal clothing be weighted?” I did some sketches, which evolved into a prototype and then a patent. In college, I took the money I made from a paid internship and sunk it into this project.

But in 2009, I nearly lost everything. I was a student at Georgia Tech University, and on May 4, 2009, I was assaulted, robbed and ultimately shot in the chest during an armed robbery in downtown Atlanta. Three masked assailants approached me from the back and robbed me at gunpoint. When I refused to get into their vehicle, one of guys pulled the trigger and I heard the click of the safety. With his second attempt, I was able to deflect the barrel of his gun from my face, but I had no time to get away.

As an Eagle Scout, I knew remaining calm was vital for my survival, but as I called 911, I noticed the other two victims and all the assailants had fled the scene, leaving me for dead in a pool of my own blood.

Not a great ending to my first day in my new apartment.

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4 Comments on “From Tragedy to Triumph ”


wrote …

what an awesome story!!! good job on your recovery...I love hearing stories like this because it's what makes going back to the gym worth it


wrote …

Very inspirational story -- so glad to hear you've come so far and recovered so well! Also a very sobering story; if a young, 6'4" 220 lbs. guy can be attacked like you were, that reminds us that it can happen to anyone. Be careful out there...


wrote …

Can't wait to get a vest, great story shows that hard word plus motivation and anything can be done!


wrote …

Patrick, thank you for sharing your story. How you were able to overcome the experience *and* turn it into something that will help other people is an inspiration. My respect -- Martha

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