Matt Hughes Details Recovery Process on Three-Year Anniversary of Train Accident

By: Tristen Critchfield
Jun 17, 2020


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Three years ago, former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes was hospitalized after a truck he was driving collided with a moving train in Raymond, Illinois.

On Tuesday, Hughes took time to reflect on his long road to recovery. The Hall of Fame fighter was placed on a ventilator after suffering a head injury in the accident and later sued the railroad operator for negligence in failing to alert motorists of dangerous conditions at the crossing where the collision occurred.

In the months that followed, Hughes displayed gradual signs of improvement during a remarkable recovery process, including video posted by a friend in which the former UFC star can be seen grappling. Hughes has progressed further since then, and on his latest post he shares the difference between where he was in 2017 and in 2020 and how he was able to persevere through some dark times.

“My accident was 3 years ago today,” Hughes wrote In some ways it doesn't feel like that long ago, but in other ways, my old life feels like a lifetime ago. My life has changed so much in these past 3 years. Some for the better, some for the worse. According to my MRI, I should have never woke up from my coma. I should be dead or have what is referred to as locked-in syndrome.

“About a year after my accident, I got complacent. I wasn't noticing any big improvements. I was depressed, I felt like a burden, I felt worthless, and I would pray for God to take me,” he continued. “This past year has been an awakening for me. I have a new mindset and goals. I am beyond grateful for every physician, doctor, nurse, therapist, coach, first responder, family member, friend, etc. who worked with me over the past 3 years. I thank God for guiding their hands and their decisions. I am extremely thankful for all the many prayers from each and every one of you. To my friends and family who stuck it out with me during all the ups and downs, I wouldn't be here if not for you.”

In addition to his long road to recovery, Hughes has dealt with domestic violence allegations from his now-estranged wife, Audra, which he denied, and a dispute with his twin brother in which Hughes allegedly became physical with his nephew.

In closing, Hughes urged those caring for someone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury to exercise patience, and he also offered encouragement to anyone who might be in a situation similar to his own.

“As an athlete, I thought I knew the body well,” Hughes wrote. “I realized I know nothing when it comes to the brain. I still have a long way to go and I still have days where I get extremely sad and down, but I refuse to accept ‘this is as good as it's going to get.’ If you are caring for someone with a brain injury, please be patient with them. Please don't pick arguments or be overly critical. Educate yourself about the injury before you assume we are just being difficult for no reason.

“If you have a brain injury, get help immediately. Stick to your therapy. Try and surround yourself with supportive people. See a counselor to help you through the tough times. Remove negative people and as much stress as possible from your life. This injury will not fix itself over time. You have to challenge yourself daily. Push your body further than what you think is possible.”

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6-16-17. My accident was 3 years ago today. In some ways it doesn't feel like that long ago, but in other ways, my old life feels like a lifetime ago. My life has changed so much in these past 3 years. Some for the better, some for the worse. According to my MRI, I should have never woke up from my coma. I should be dead or have what is referred to as locked-in syndrome. About a year after my accident, I got complacent. I wasn't noticing any big improvements. I was depressed, I felt like a burden, I felt worthless, and I would pray for God to take me. This past year has been an awakening for me. I have a new mindset and goals. I am beyond grateful for every physician, doctor, nurse, therapist, coach, first responder, family member, friend, etc. who worked with me over the past 3 years. I thank God for guiding their hands and their decisions. I am extremely thankful for all the many prayers from each and every one of you. To my friends and family who stuck it out with me during all the ups and downs, I wouldn't be here if not for you. As an athlete, I thought I knew the body well. I realized, I know nothing when it comes to the brain. I still have a long way to go and I still have days where I get extremely sad and down, but I refuse to accept "this is as good as it's going to get". If you are caring for someone with a brain injury, please be patient with them. Please don't pick arguments or be overly critical. Educate yourself about the injury before you assume we are just being difficult for no reason. If you have a brain injury, get help immediately. Stick to your therapy. Try and surround yourself with supportive people. See a counselor to help you through the tough times. Remove negative people and as much stress as possible from your life. This injury will not fix itself over time. You have to challenge yourself daily. Push your body further than what you think is possible. Finally, thank you all for the support and encouragement you have given me these past 3 years. It definitely helps. Thank you for sharing your stories with me. Please keep the prayers coming, I sure do appreciate them. #rebirth #tbi #tbiawareness #aliveday

A post shared by Matt Hughes (@matthughes9x) on

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