REAL DIVA! How Caprice O’Bryant Rebuilt Her Life After TWO Car Accidents Stole Her MemoryBy Caprice O'Bryant | May 8, 2018 | Gal Approved
Meet REAL DIVA Caprice O’Bryant – who rebuilt her life after being in two car accidents that robbed her of her childhood memories. Learn how she bounced back – stronger than ever!
My name is Caprice O’Bryant, and I’m the owner of Excuse Free Fitness! Gym in Homewood, Ill. Back in 2007, I survived a serious car accident. I was 14 years old. My sister was driving – we were on our way to practice and she lost control of the car. We sped across traffic and went into a tree, and our Jeep’s roof caved in on my head.
I had to get staples in my head and I was left with a traumatic brain injury. I was unable to walk and had impaired cognitive abilities, to the point where I had difficulty following simple instructions. I spent the next five months in intensive physical, speech and occupational therapy.
I had to learn how to walk again, but after that, things started moving fast. I was on my high school’s track team and I was winning, but I still had to deal with the impact of my injuries. I’d be so weak after a race that I would pass out. Even with all that, I was named conference champion – wearing a knee brace! I wasn’t going to let anything stop me from doing what I loved.
After getting back on my feet and returning to a ‘normal’ life, it would be turned upside down again just three years later. In 2010 I was riding in the car while my twin brother was driving. We spun into a pick-up truck on my side of the car. I was left with devastating injuries which would affect me for the rest of my life.
I started having grand mal having seizures that would leave me gazing for long periods of time. And then on June 18, 2012, I had a seizure in class and hit my head on the concrete. I woke up in the hospital, and I didn’t know my name. They were asking me all these questions about what day it was and who is the president – I didn’t know any of that stuff. They sent my mom in, but I didn’t know she was my mom. I thought she was a nurse because so many had come in before asking me questions. Then they brought in my sister and my twin brother and my grandmother, but I didn’t know anyone. It was very overwhelming.
It didn’t make sense. I kept asking, “He’s my twin brother, but there’s nothing wrong with him. (He had a minor shoulder injury from the accident in 2010). Why is there so much wrong with me?” We’re close now, but it took some time. I would even be jealous of him because he got to go to college, and every time I tried to go to school, they told me I didn’t have the mental capacity to be a college student – I was a health risk. But now, he’s so inspiring to me. Our relationship is great because he doesn’t make me feel bad that I don’t remember. He’s a very cool dude.
My family tried to show me pictures and they were singing songs. It was a lot for me. Looking back, I appreciate what they did. They just wanted me to be well and remember. They were under the impression that my memory loss was short-term and would come back. But here it is, almost six years later – and I still don’t remember the first 19 years of my life. I have retrograde amnesia.
I didn’t even know that I was an athlete. That took some time because I was very weak and I was having two or three grand mal seizures a day. It took a very long time before I was active and doing things independently.
My dad took me to a gym less than a year after I lost my memory. People started coming up to me asking me if I could train them. I said no at first. But then I got certified and learned how to eat clean and reduce the inflammation in my brain, reduce my stress and get out of depression. I learned how to strengthen my body. And then I thought, it’s very selfish for me to keep these things to myself because I know how to do it. There was so much there. And I felt that I didn’t go through all of those things for me, I went through all those things to become an agent of change for people.
This summer I’ll be celebrating three years with my business Excuse Free Fitness! So many of my clients are dealing with things. One has Down’s Syndrome, another with MS. But if they can do it and I can do it, everyone can do it. When you’re dealing with a chronic illness, it becomes too much for people. But I just don’t think anything should get in the way of wellness.
I train all types of people, and I accept everyone, regardless their abilities or how many chromosomes they have in their bodies. I want everyone to know what it feels like to be healthy – to be able to run when they told you wouldn’t walk. I want to inspire people to not give up.
I got married last year to the guy I was dating before I lost my memory. He’s wonderful. He told my family, “I’m just going to get her to fall in love with me again.”
Follow Caprice on Instagram: @CoachCaprice.