How a local teen turned a tragedy into triumph continuing his passion for CrossFit - News 11's Sunrise Anchor Dominique Newland reports
YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - If you took a look at him at first glance, 17-year-old Rich Jaure is a strong, healthy teen with a love for fitness.
But like the saying goes, don't judge a book by its cover. The Yuma native who currently ranks 89th in the world for his age division in CrossFit was once told he may never walk or talk again. On April 29, 2018 Rich was involved in a quad bike accident that would turn his world upside down.
"Me and my friends were on some quads and we were racing and we ran through a brick wall probably anywhere from 25 to 35 mph and none of us were wearing helmets,” said Rich.
Rich flew over the quad bike, hitting the wall and was covered in bricks. A bystander near by ran over to help Rich and his friends until an ambulance arrived.
“When the phone rang it was like is this really happening? Not my son, no. We raced over there to the scene and to see all the ambulances and firetrucks there. It was an awe moment. It's like oh yeah this is bad, this isn't good," said Rich's dad, Jerry.
Due to the severity of the crash, Rich had to be flown to Phoenix Children's Hospital immediately for a craniotomy. Rich explained that the doctors had to make an incision from each side of his head.
Doctors had to relieve two blood hematomas that were on each side of Rich's indented and shattered forehead. This resulted medical professionals placing a titanium plate in the front portion of his skull. His mom and dad had to approve all surgery decisions via telephone as they drove to meet their son in Phoenix.
“They start explaining to us telling you he might not talk again, he might not even be able to talk at all," said Jerry Jaure.
Before the accident, Rich was ranked 66th globally and 38th in the nation in the CrossFit Games Online Qualifier for his age. It was his fitness that ultimately helped him in recovery.
At the time of the teen's training, Rich was at a high point where he was training for the CrossFit open. The doctors told Rich's parents that because of his body knowing how to recover from strenuous workouts, his body went into survival mode from the accident and that's why he was able to recover so quickly.
In the hospital for only 12 days, the athlete in Rich never faded away. Slowly but surely he was back in the gym waiting to get officially cleared from his doctor. However, the champ didn't lose his touch.
“I still got a pretty good finish. I wasn’t disappointed with it. I think I ranked like 50th (globally) that year too. Which is pretty good," said Rich.
The athlete says his goal is continuing to work to the best of his ability. But he's not training alone, thanks to the help of his longtime family friend and coach who's been working with Rich since he was 12.
“He has a great work ethic. To be good at CrossFit and at a certain level, you gotta have a certain work ethic. He has that and I think that accident kind of gave him that little push, a little extra push that he wanted or needed. It's been incredible to see,” said Steven Garnica, owner of Hidden Valley Strength.
With a strong support system and even stronger faith, Rich and his family are thankful to all be in good health and continuing their group love for fitness. Rich is now training to qualify for the CrossFit Games in July.
"I'm just super thankful for being able to do this at the level that I'm at and just be able to recover. Because I understand some people would have like different outcomes of the situation that I was in. I'm blessed to be able to keep on doing this and stay healthy and strong. This is just the teen level so once you get to the adult level it's a lot bigger. It's like a bigger world over there so I definitely love to compete over there too," said Rich.