Gymnast beats injury odds, headed to Olympics
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- An arm or wrist injury usually ends the career of a competitive gymnast. When Chris Brooks broke his arm, that's what everyone thought would happen. But his story has a different ending, one that has taken him to London and the Olympics.
It goes all the way to about there.
When gymnast Brooks broke his arm, no one thought he'd never be a gymnast again.
"Plain and simple, he should have been done," his coach said.
Even his surgeon thought so.
"I thought when I first saw him this was probably it for him," said Dr. Korsh Jafarnia with the Methodist Center For Orthopaedic Surgery.
During a dismount, Brooks broke both bones in his forearm. Dr. Jafarnia put in two plates and 16 screws to hold the bones together. But swelling cut off the blood flow, and Brooks had to have five surgeries to save his arm.
"In every stage of the process, he kept a smile on his face and kept asking about the next level and how he can get there and just very encouraging. And we thought, you know what, he may make it out of this," Dr. Jafarnia said.
"It took me out of the sport about two years. Everyone told me I was never gonna do gymnastics again and I beat the odds, I beat the system, I guess. I'm still doing it today and still loving it," Brooks said.
And his perseverance paid off. Chris Brooks is going to the Olympics. He's the first alternate with the U.S. men's gymnastics team.
"My goal's always been to do big things -- world championships, Olympics, stuff like that -- and I wasn't ready to give that up," Brooks said.
As a reserve athlete, he has to be ready in all six Olympic events, and his coach says he is.
"Every event in our sport deals with your hand and your wrist, so that was pretty much a deal breaker. But his resiliency just coming back after the injury doesn't surprise anybody that he's a part of this Olympic team," his coach said.
"To my knowledge I don't know of anyone who has been through this and competed at the level he has," Dr. Jafarnia said.
"I think it just proves that miracles could still happen," Brooks said.
And a lot of people here who have watched his comeback agree.
Since his injury, in 2004, he's won a number of awards, including the 2010 Winter Cup Challenge All-Around Champion.
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