“We turned on our signal to go right. A guy who had been up all night drinking didn’t see us. He was driving a one-ton pickup and going way over the speed limit –the police records said he was doing 90 plus when he hit me. I don’t remember anything after turning on my blinker. I woke up in the hospital three days later,” Rodney Hamby says.
The impact knocked the entire bed off Hamby’s pickup truck and propelled him out the side window. His body tangled with the highway guardrail. As metal met flesh, the guardrail stripped his leg to the bone from the knee down and severed his femoral artery.
He awoke three days later in the neurological ICU with his head swollen to the size of a basketball. Hamby suffered severe head trauma in addition to torn flesh and broken bones. The list of breaks includes his C-4, C-5, and C-6 vertebrae, leg, ribs, and fingers.
After a two-week hospital stay and skin graft to his leg, Hamby was able to go home.
At home and without insurance, Hamby was on his own. He did the stretches the doctors taught him, and studied the muscular system so he could better rehabilitate his broken body.
“I couldn’t make my leg straight and I couldn’t use my calf, so I’d practice putting my toes on a quarter inch thick notepad to stretch the muscle, then two notepads, then a phonebook,” Hamby says. It took him over a year of rehabilitation before he felt close to normal.
Getting through the pain and rebuilding his body after the accident “defined me as a person,” Hamby says, “It made me not be afraid of anything. Now, I accept challenges with open arms.”
Since the accident, Hamby has sought out challenges. First it was MMA, next it was CrossFit.
While working as a personal trainer, Hamby discovered MMA. “For the longest time, I couldn’t wrap my head around why someone would want to get in there and actually fight on purpose. That spooked me a little and when I realized that [I was spooked] I knew I had to do it, I had to face my fears.”
That curiosity led to training himself and eventually training others in preparation to take the ring. He fought twice and won both. Always looking for another challenge, he started CrossFit.
Hamby found that the CrossFit workouts could challenge him in ways that the ring couldn’t. CrossFit made him try what he thought was impossible after the accident: squat.
“Once I learned to squat, everything was butter. If I was still in the globo-gym, I’d still not be squatting,” Hamby says.
Since starting CrossFit, he developed a 495-pound deadlift, a 210-pound shoulder press, and a 315-pound front squat.
In 2009, he placed 10th in the CrossFit Games South West Regional and opened his own affiliate, CrossFit SoMO. After missing the cut in 2010, he came back with a vengeance for the 2011 North Central Regional, placing 17th.
So, where does 2012 find Hamby?
“Not Leaderboarding,” he laughs, “Just focused on giving my best. I want to make the cut to the third day of Regionals. That’s my goal.”
Hamby scored a solid 124 burpees in Open Workout 12.1. With a 205-pound snatch, he welcomed the chance to break out the barbell for 12.2. He scored 77 reps, placing him well within the top 60 in his region.
His dream Open Workout? Muscle-ups, overhead squats, and a few heavy deadlifts thrown in for good measure.
Let’s see what 12.3 brings.