Edwin Moses remarkably recovers from traumatic brain injuries

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Edwin Moses turned the corner, saw the blue police lights in the distance and, immediately, started spinning.

His senses overwhelmed by the strength of the strobing lights, Moses fell to the ground and crawled to the sidewalk, then used every ounce of energy to stand up and stagger back to his car.

Somehow, he made it home safely that night. Within a week, he was lying in a hospital bed, losing feeling in his legs, wondering if he would ever walk again.

The incident on the streets of Atlanta came shortly after Moses suffered his second traumatic brain injury in the span of two months – one from a tumble down the stairs, the second when he banged his head hard on the doorjamb of his car.

After the second accident, Moses suffered bleeding beneath his skull, and stayed in the hospital for about a week. Moses rejected “traditional” physical therapy for concussions that would have involved relearning how to walk and instead chose a more aggressive approach offered by his friend, physical therapist and former track star Rene Felton Bessozi.

Three months after that scary night on the street, Moses is nearing 100 percent – a credit to the talent and tenacity of one of the world’s best athletes, combined with a therapy he says put him on the fast track to recovery.

“The first thing I said was, `Nobody’s going to believe this story,”‘ Moses said. “It was the worst possible scenario and I was able to walk again. It really didn’t look like it would go that way when they were lifting my legs into the bed and I couldn’t control my upper body.”

The 62-year-old Moses began making the impossible seem possible starting in the 1970s, when he broke the world record in the 400m hurdles at the Montreal Olympics.

He took another Olympic gold in 1984, and to this day, holds four of the 10 top times in the event, including a mark of 47.02 that remains the second-best of all time. His streak of 122 straight races without a loss still stands as one of the most remarkable feats in sports.

He fought for athletes’ rights during his career, helping develop an out-of-competition drug-testing program, and has doubled down on his fight for clean sports since retirement.

He currently serves as chairman of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, a job that puts him on the front lines of a fight that currently is centered on allegations that Russia’s government ran a program to help its Olympic athletes evade positive tests. Moses has been a featured speaker for years at meetings to discuss the Russia case and others.

But this summer, it was more mundane pursuits – carrying a full load of household items down the stairs on July 2 – that sent him tumbling and triggered a spiral that landed him in the hospital, unable to walk and wondering if he might be paralyzed for life.

“I needed someone to take me upstairs at night, bring me back down, bring in food and all that,” Moses said. “Some days, it might take me 20 minutes to get up off the couch or out of the bed.”

After a few weeks, he was feeling better, and when he hit his head on the car door, he thought nothing of it, mainly because there was no bruise or outward sign of swelling. Turns out, that accident started a slow leak of blood underneath the surface, and not until a visit to the hospital shortly after that night on the street did Moses realize the severity of the impact.

“They did a CT scan and said, `Some of this blood is brand new,”‘ Moses said. “The doctor said something had to happen for something like this to be there.”

He turned down the option of a slow rehab process and instead turned to Felton Bessozi, an old friend who now lives in Italy, where she coaches track and does therapy.

Moses’ son, Julian, is a volleyball player. He worked with Felton Bessozi to overcome a knee injury, and with her help, he returned quickly back to the court.

When Moses himself was given the option of using a walker to relearn how to move, he chose to check out of the hospital and called his friend, who has traveled with him and put him through two-a-day workouts that involve, among other things, pool work, stimulation using electromagnetic currents, weights and more weights.

“I started working with him on Sept. 26, and on Oct. 26, he was able to fly over to Switzerland by himself” for an anti-doping conference, Felton Bessozi said. “I know how fast the body can recover. The human body is the most phenominal machine on the planet.”

And Moses’ is one of the best machines ever made.

Not many are aware that he ran the latter part of his career, from 1986 through 1988, with a ruptured disc. He won an Olympic bronze and world gold medal during that span. Because MRIs were few and far between at the time, he wasn’t diagnosed until 1993.

“It was the equivalent of what would happen if you were in an automobile and got rear-ended while you were twisted around,” Moses said.

But the real accident in the car – when he banged his head against the door jamb – occurred decades later, and when it happened, Moses didn’t recognize it for what it was.

Now that he’s on the mend, Moses views Felton Bessozi’s therapy as a potential answer for the thousands of concussions diagnoses that have made so many headlines other sports.

“When I first saw him, I teared up because of the condition he was in,” Felton Bessozi said, “and I told him I’d stay here with him until he could run again.”

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Mo Farah likely to retire this year

Mo Farah
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British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

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Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

Kendall Gretsch
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Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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