Megan Redmond had to relearn how to walk. Now she’s doing activities doctors never thought she could.
Exercise was always part of Megan Redmond’s life, but she didn’t realize the true power of her strength until a devastating car accident in June 2017.
On that fateful day, Redmond, a mom-of-four from Dayton, Ohio, was airlifted to a trauma hospital where doctors performed emergency surgery to relieve pressure on her brain. She spent a week on a ventilator and the next month in the hospital with numerous bone fractures and a traumatic brain injury. Suddenly, the active cyclist and former Division 1 college soccer player had to relearn how to walk, get dressed, and feed herself.
“I had to process and grieve the person that I used to be,” she told Tonal in an interview.
Because of the severity of her injuries, she explained, it’s “a miracle” that she can live a normal life today. The road to recovery wasn’t easy, but Redmond never let herself get discouraged. For her, strength means perseverance, and she drew on a deep internal reserve to make it through. Even on her toughest days, Redmond listened to the internal voice telling her, “You can do this; you’re strong; you can get through it.”
After leaving the hospital, Redmond spent a month in a rehab facility working on basic life skills. She had damage to her vestibular nerve (located in the inner ear, this nerve affects body positioning and coordination) leading to problems with balance and making it difficult to walk. But even after conquering those hurdles, she faced more challenges. She remembers struggling to play with her youngest daughters—identical twins who were 3-years-old when the accident happened—while battling bouts of dizziness.
She gradually returned to exercise, first with cycling and then with lifting weights. When the pandemic disrupted her workout routine, Redmond looked into new ways to build strength at home—which is how she discovered Tonal.
Lifting adaptive weight on Tonal let Redmond focus on her form and technique more than she could when using dumbbells. Since she still struggles with memory loss from her brain injury, Redmond appreciates how Tonal tracks all of her metrics and knows how much weight she should lift for each exercise. Improving her Strength Score also keeps Redmond motivated to keep working out. “I’m very competitive,” she said. “I can look at that data and know where I started and where I need to be.”
The benefits of exercise go far beyond appearances for Redmond. She’s able to play with her kids again and can better deal with anxiety. Being able to maintain consistency with strength training has helped Redmond grow the confidence and resilience that have been crucial to her recovery.
“After my accident, I knew that my physical strength was going to come back. It was my mental strength that I needed to really focus on,” she said. “When you start doing a strength program like this, it really helps you not just physically but mentally as well.”
Finishing each work out is a reminder that she’s strong and capable. “I may not want to [exercise], but then I start doing it, and I get through it,” she said. “Then I can say to myself, ‘You got through that. You can do these hard things.’” It’s this determination that’s driven her to be able to run, drive a car, and coach soccer at a local club—things doctors said she would never be able to do again.
Birthdays since the accident have profound meaning for Redmond. As Redmond celebrates turning 42 this year, she welcomes another year she gets to spend with her family. “I don’t care about getting older, because five years ago, I might not have been here,” she reflected. “I owe it to the doctors who took care of me and the fast response of the emergency teams, but especially the strength I had knowing that I needed to be here for my kids.”