This week we are putting the spotlight on a special gymnast. His incredible story has an important message for all. You may know him for being the first ever Irish gymnast to qualify for the Olympics, but his journey to the international games included many obstacles.
Kieran Behan was born on April 19, 1989, in London, UK. He started his career at the young age of 6 where he found interest in tumbling. Four years later, at age 10, he received devastating news. Doctor's told him that a golf ball sized lump was found in his left leg. It was inevitable that surgery was needed to remove the mass. The procedure would be followed by a long healing period, this meant no gymnastics.
After what was suppose to be a common surgery turned complicated, Kieran was told that the operation resulted in severe nerve damage. The event also took away his ability to ever walk again. Even though his family struggled with the news, the young athlete did not let this crush his spirits. Contrary to many doctors predictions, 15 months post surgery the athlete defied all odds and regained his motor functions. He had built enough strength to where he could start walk again. Kieran was quick to pick-up gymnastics from where he left off and continued his dedication to the sport.
Eight months into his new practice, Kieran’s luck ran short again. The gymnast slipped during a familiar routine and his head crashed into a metal bar. This event left him with a stringent brain injury and trauma to his inner ear canals. He once again was told that this accident wouldn’t allow him to continue his athletic career. He was in the hospital for 2 months in frail condition after the accident. At first Kieran was frustrated and heartbroken, but his optimism quickly took over. After two years of hard work the athlete was able to regain his hand-eye coordination. Doctors named him the “miracle boy”.
To date, the athlete has earned 3 gold medals, 3 silver medals and a bronze in the Northern European Championships. He has also participated in the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics. Kieran is a phenomenal athlete and even better role model due to his impeccable courage, bravery and forward thinking attitude. Without his drive and love for sport, he may have never walked again or became a world famous gymnast!