After fracturing spine and neck, an IU coach is again tackling t - WDRB 41 Louisville News

After fracturing spine and neck, an IU coach is again tackling the Ironman

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Back in 2013, Tom Morris was recovering at the Frazier Rehab Institute in Louisville. 

The Indiana University strength and conditioning coach was a triathlete, crushed the Ironman and was getting ready for his next race.

But while training on his mountain bike, an accident changed everything. 

"I fractured my spine, fractured my neck and just left me laying there on the ground," Morris told WDRB News back in 2013.

Left paralyzed from the chest down, Morris fought his way through rehab and then eventually back to work. 

But if conquering that weren't enough, now he's ready to push his body even further. In August, Morris will compete in the 70.3 mile Ironman in Benton Harbor, Mich.

"My body is really, really strong again," he said. "I'm able to get out and compete."

But this time he won't go at it alone. Instead, he'll tackle it in the relay division with his wife, Christa, and best buddy, Jason.

Jason will handle the 1.2-mile swim, and Christa will do the 13.1-mile run. 

But Tom will do the heavy lifting: a 56-mile bike on his handcycle.

"When you put yourself on a handcycle, sometimes those injuries just go away," Morris said. "I mean, there's no sense of having that disability anymore."

But just crossing the finish line isn't what this race is all about. 

Tom's team is working to raise $1,000 for each mile of the race, $70,300 to help others affected by spinal cord injuries wanting to return to an active lifestyle. 

The money will help pay for things like adaptive sports equipment, gym memberships and race entry fees.   

"My biggest thing is I feel like I can help others, motivate them and get them moving into a direction where they can get physically active again and see a lot of progress," Morris said. 

For now, the team prepares for a new goal, appreciating every training ride along the way. 

"Life is moving on, and it's really a great place to be right now."

To donate to Morris' team, click here.

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