Aquila Community Blog

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Functional Fitness… It’s a Life and Death Kind of Thing

AMRAP 20 Minutes:
5 Pull Up
10 DB Push Press
15 Box Jump 24/20″

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 4.07.07 PMMany of our afternoon members know Thomas and Stacey Moore.  Travis and I got an email from Stacey a week and a half back letting us know that Thomas had broke both legs kayaking, would require multiple surgeries, and that they were moving away to be with family where a wheel chair would be accommodated better.  I let Stacey know we’d take care of their membership cancellation and if there was anything we could help with to let us know.  I was wondering how you break your legs in a kayak???

Before I give you the rest of the story, you guys should know that Thomas isn’t your average paddle around the river kind of kayaker most of us think of.  He’s into the gnarly hardcore kind of kayaking where you go places that really weren’t meant for humans to be navigating.


Photo by Tom Janney

Here is a video I found of him and his buddies from a couple years ago in the same area where this incident happened.

About a week later, we heard from Thomas via email and got the story.  Here it is:

Travis/ Justin,
Hey guys, I wanted to take some time to tell you a little bit more about what happened and what’s going on now. I have nothing but time on my hands now so I thought I would share. Last Friday I was kayaking the middle fork of the San Joaquin river below Devils Postpile National Park. This section of river is a multi-day trip that takes about 4 days to complete and this was my fifth year in a row to do this river and is one of my favorite. This stretch of river is rated class V+ and is considered one of the hardest most committing canyons in North America. This river has it all in terms of what I look for in whitewater. Though there is great risk, the reward cannot be described in words. I was with four friends and we put on the river last Wednesday and planned on taking off on Friday. Friday morning we started kayaking around 9 am and shortly after we started things went incredibly bad.


Photo by Darrin McQuoid

While running a rapid I got offline and got pushed in a place I did not want to be. This resulted in getting pinned underwater with the front of my boat pinned in some rocks at about a 45 degree angle. I immediately knew and could feel that my boat would not come free and that I must exit the kayak in order to survive. I pulled my spray deck which is something I wear to keep the water out of the boat. Once I did this I tried to climb out of the boat. This proved to be very difficult with all of the water hitting me from behind and filling the boat. I finally managed to get my legs barely out just past my knee and that is when the most excruciating pain of my life began. I was now trapped just past the knee being violently torn down stream meanwhile still under water. I tried like hell to get free but it felt hopeless. I was in so much pain and I was losing oxygen. It was at this moment that I thought that it was over. I thought of my wife and realized that I would not only drown to death but it would be a violent torturous death. I thought I just can’t go out like this! It took every ounce of strength I had to push, wiggle and tear my legs free. It wasn’t until each one of them fully dislocated sideways that it gave me a better angle to finally get free.

I then floated down stream and was rescued by my friends who gave me a number of pain pills and splinted both of my legs. We hit an emergency beacon and four hours later a
CHP helicopter hoisted me out of the river and took me to Fresno.

As I look back on it now I truly believe the training I have had with you guys helped me prepare to push myself further than I ever imagined possible. Almost every time I come to CF East Sac, I do my best to give it my all. I did join to be fit but what I get the most out of the workouts is finding out just what I am capable of. I enjoy pushing myself to a place physically and most of all mentally that tests something I did not know I had in me. While I am not sure when I can come back I really do want to and am bummed I wont be there for sometime. Quite often I read the hate articles on why people shouldn’t do CrossFit. All I know is that training with you guys has allowed me to get to a place both physically and mentally that I think helped save my life. Thank you! From the bottom of my heart.

So I dislocated both knees, tore three out of four ligaments in both knees, and ripped off the right patellar tendon which resulted in a tibia fracture. I had surgery on both legs last Saturday with plans for future surgery. Currently I have four external metal pins in each leg connected by metal rods that keep my legs straight. Either today or tomorrow I will be transferring from a hospital here in Fresno to UC Davis where I will begin some rehab. Once again, Thank you.

Thomas will be at UCD for another day or two doing some rehab.  He informed me yesterday that he has learned to get in and out of his wheel chair and put a pair of shorts on by himself.

We are so glad Thomas had the strength to support his will to survive.  We will all be thinking of you and Stacey and wishing you the best recovery.  Hopefully we will see you come walking through our doors again ready to start over on rebuilding your invincibility.  He’s already doing pull ups again even with his legs literally bolted together with an erector set.

You can find the KCRA news story on Thomas’ incident here with a could photos of the rescue.!0hFZ8

Posted by Justin Riley

20 responses to “Functional Fitness… It’s a Life and Death Kind of Thing”

  1. That’s just insane. What courage!

  2. Colleen says:

    Fantastic determination!! I’m sure Thomas’ recovery will go great, given the shape he’s in and that attitude.
    Even though I don’t think we’ve met, I’m happy to help if you need anything_ I’m at UCDavis M-F – call 4-1050.

    Um..Kinda worried about the workout today though if it’s a nod to him and this event… (Jk)

  3. Kate says:

    Wow, so glad you made it out alive–what an amazing and harrowing story. Sending all the best wishes for your recovery.

  4. Jamie P says:

    Whoa. No words. Sending all my CrossFit Love to you guys. Thomas, I know you’ll have a speedy recovery that boggles the minds of your physicians because that’s the type of guy you are. My best to you both.

  5. Jessica says:

    What an inspiring story! I’m so glad you had the determination and strength to get out of there! I wish you a speedy recovery and am so thankful to hear of your successes thus far!

  6. Jennifer R. says:

    Thank you for sharing your incredible story! May your recovery be speedy and thorough!

  7. Justin Davis says:

    Holy fuck… hang in there Thomas. Wishing you the best, that is some serious shit – so very sorry to hear that man.

  8. Jarrod says:

    WOW!! What a story! Way to get out of there Thomas!

  9. Giancarlo says:

    Thomas is a beast. Amazing story, wish you a steadfast recovery!

  10. Katie says:

    Absolutely incredible. Would expect nothing less from Thomas. Get better soon! We’ll miss you!!

  11. Josh says:

    Grateful you made it Thomas. You are a great person, and you have a lot of fortitude. That got you out of that kayak, and it will get you on your feet soon.

  12. Sherona says:

    So very glad as I’m sure Stacey is to have you make it out of this situation alive! All the very best to you Thomas as you recover!

  13. laura goulding says:

    Holy Crap! Amazing to see that you made it out alive and with such a great attitude. Best of luck on your recovery! Hope to see you guys back soon!

  14. angela says:

    I’m truly beyond words right now. Thomas, what a show of strength and courage. I can’t imagine. There is no doubt that you will have a speedier recovery than most, and I’m actually eager to hear the stories that you can share about the doctor’s being amazed by your progress. Please let your CFES family know if there is anything we can do for you. In the meantime, I know that all of us are keeping you in our thoughts, and working our asses off extra special at the box.

  15. John Michelmore says:

    Thomas, what a terrible, but at the same time, courageous story! I have no doubt about your recovery, if you approach it the same way you approached all of your workouts at CFES. I also look forward to you coming back here and continuing to kick my butt. In the meantime, all the best and keep the attitude up!

  16. Thomas says:

    Thank you everyone for your kind words. I have always been blown away with the the dedication and hard work that goes on here. If I had to do this shit by myself I would have quit a long time ago.I miss being there and getting my ass kicked with you all. I get to do physical therapy everyday so it has been nice to work out some. Today I did my own WOD of bar dips, shoulder press, and this bike you peddle with your arms. They all think I’m a little crazy at PT but whatever I’m finally getting to move. It seems as though my road to recovery will be long and uncertain right now but I’m going to stay positive and give it my all.
    My amazing wife has been by my side the whole time keeping me going. She is my all. Thanks for any positive energy you can send my way and go extra hard next time you WOD for me!

  17. Jason says:

    God speed Thomas… Your story is inspirational… Can’t wait to see you get back to CFES…. I work across from UCD, say the word if you need anything bro

  18. Crystal says:

    That is absolutely insane! Thomas, I can’t even imagine what it’s been like for you since the accident, but all I can say is you’ve inspired me in so many ways. Your will to survive and keep fighting is something that will certainly stick with me. I wish you the very best recovery, and I know we’ll see you back in the gym again. Keep your head up!

  19. Annie R says:

    Thomas, I am so glad you made it out of that boat. Hang in there. We are all rooting for you to make a great recovery!

  20. Sharyn says:

    Your strong will and amazing perseverance is absolutely inspirational. I am so glad you were able to survive. I am sending you both strong healing energy. Hang in there! With your determination you certainly will heal and we will see you back at CFES!

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