Every individual throughout their life will experience some sort of adversity that will test them and push them to the limit. This ranges from the average person to even professional athletes. One individual, named Jamie MoCrazy, faced an obstacle that would test her character. MoCrazy is an accomplished skier, winning the Junior World Championships at 18 years old. Unfortunately, a bad crash at the World Tour Finals in 2015 left her in a coma, and she faced a tough road of recovery ahead of her. This entailed her having to relearn basic things, such as how to walk, but it only took her an astonishing eight months to begin skiing again.
After such an inspiring comeback, MoCrazy now does public speaking at various conventions and aims to inspire others who suffer traumatic injuries that they themselves can overcome. What not only Jamie but the MoCrazy family have done is give guidance to those who need help, because they themselves had to learn and deal with it themselves. After sitting down with the MoCrazy family, we were able to learn about their whole story, which is very inspirational and serves as the foundation for their mission: to provide assistance and awareness to traumatic brain injuries. This is a mission they feel very strongly about and will continue to make a difference.
How did you get into competing skiing at such a high level?
Skiing has been a part of my family for generations. My grandmother competed on the world cup tour! I started skiing at 1-year-old, and it became a natural progression for me to combine my love of skiing and gymnastics into freestyle skiing. I started competing and my results started placing me in bigger and bigger competitions until I was competing with the best in the world on the largest stages.
Can you tell us about your accident?
On April 11th, 2015 I was competing at the World Tour Finals in Whistler, Canada. After my first run, I was ranked in 4th place. As someone who had been ranked 1st or 2nd overall in the world for three consecutive years 4th place was not acceptable. I upgraded my single backflip to a double backflip. I was known for my double flips I had been doing for two years and knew that upgrade could land me at the top of the podium.
However, on my second run on landing the double flip, I caught an edge and whiplashed my head into the snow. My brain started bleeding in eight spots and I hurt my right brain stem, paralyzing my right side. I don’t remember anything about that day and the following six weeks. My sister Jeanee was at the competition and saw first hand my accident. As Jeanee skied down to me she saw me convulsing in the snow, spewing blood, and my eyes rolled back in my head.
How was the adjustment after your accident to get back to some form of normalcy?
Many difficulties resulted from my accident at different times throughout my recovery making it difficult to return to normalcy. Initially, I had many struggles, I couldn’t walk, talk or swallow water. As a professional skier, traveling the world and competing on the most beautiful mountains one might not say my life was normal. I was always pleased with how MoCrazy and radical my life was.
When I was in the coma a doctor told my mom in front of me that due to my significant brain damage my statistics showed I would never live a normal life and be self-sufficient. After waking from my coma as soon as I could talk I kept telling my mom I wanted to be normal. After a few weeks of telling my mom every day I wanted to be normal, she asked why I wanted to be normal. I said because the guy said I couldn’t. I stayed seeking different forms of normalcy for years after my injury. I am proud to say it took me five years to get back to living my unnormal, MoCrazy, successful life!
How did you feel after talking to the doctors after your accident? Were you scared etc?
After my injury, I was not legally in charge of myself. Although I was an adult in the system all my decisions were made by my mom. I was very fortunate my mom who was my caregiver had been studying how the brain works for decades before my injury.
Her knowledge and decisions regarding my traumatic brain injury allowed me to have the recovery I did. Because of mama MoCrazy’s knowledge and my outcome we are passionate about sharing that information. In video 2 of caregiver’s campaign, we are doing with Brain Injury Alliance of Utah; caregivers have power, mama MoCrazy talks about how caregivers can talk with doctors.
What was your recovery process like?
Every day I faced challenges. It took at least five years filled with different challenges to become who I am today. Throughout the process, the MoCrazy ladies focused on celebrating the little and enjoying the process.
What advice would you give to others going through similar situations?
Find support that has knowledge of what you went through and has creative ideas on how you can achieve the outcomes you want with a different ability going into the process.
How have you used your experiences to help others?
Establishing MoCrazy Strong started when Jeanee sent out the hashtag #MoCrazyStrong to all my worldwide supporters at the beginning of my coma. We continued to use MoCrazy Strong as I recovered, through partnerships with companies we believe in, and my motivational speaking.
As I mentioned above, it took years of recovery for me, Jeanee and Mama MoCrazy needed time to process the ordeal. Within the past year, we made the work we have been doing for other traumatic injury survivors official by creating the company MoCrazy Strong which has allowed us to help in a much bigger way.
As the anniversary of your accident is approaching is there anything you would do differently looking back on your experiences?
Honestly, I would not. I believe I was so fortunate to have the support of Jeanee and the educated knowledge of mama MoCrazy, I want to share that guidance with the TBI community. TBI is a national health crisis with very little funds, education, and support. Focusing on recognizing TBI’s in the workforce and how a deficit you can’t see can be dealt with is a focus on the Biden/Harris administration as it affects the U.S. in health and economics.
Can you tell us a little about your Brain Alliance Campaign that you’re working on in March and April?
Like I mentioned above, mama MoCrazy has been studying the brain since before I was born. Mama MoCrazy took that knowledge into creating my caregiving. She knew how to talk to the doctors, what nutrition was good for my brain, mindset, and more. The Brain Injury Alliance of Utah campaign is focused on sharing that educated advice with the caregiver community.