At 17, Jacqui Pierce was taking a joyride on a moped. As she rounded a curb, she lost control and hit a tree.
“The impact was so hard that my face detached from my skull,” says Pierce, now 26. “I broke every bone in my face. They couldn’t find eye sockets. My eye sockets had powdered.”
On Pierce’s 11th day in the hospital, her father made the decision to stop life support. Three days later, Jacqui came out of her coma. Today, her skull is made of titanium plates and screws, and she can’t open or close her left hand.
A few years ago, Pierce joined her sister at CrossFit Rutherford in Tennessee. Today, she’s snatching and cleaning and jerking with one arm, and she’s jumping on 20-inch boxes.
“I just think CrossFit is such a blessing,” she says. “I don’t know if I could go to a place and work out where you don’t have people encouraging and yelling for you. That’s honestly one of the reasons I come back.”
Affiliate owner Jennifer Haynes says coaches started by putting Pierce on a rower.
“We didn’t know what she could do, and she didn’t know what she could do. She’s been amazing,” Haynes says.
Pierce is competing in the CrossFit Games Open.
“What’s stopping you? There’s no stopping her,” Haynes says.
Video by Mike Koslap.
HD file size: 156 MB
SD wmv file size: 59 MB
SD mov file size: 70 MB
Please note: For smoother viewing of HD videos, please download the entire file to your hard drive before watching it (right-click and choose Save Link As...).
Additional reading: Bouncing Back by Hilary Achauer, published March 22, 2012.