Matt Hughes shares footage of physical transformation, recovery from 2017 train accident

Matt Hughes shares footage of physical transformation, recovery from 2017 train accident

Tuesday marked three years since Matt Hughes was involved in a near-fatal train accident and the UFC Hall of Famer is counting his blessings.

On June 16, 2017, Hughes sustained a severe head injury after a train collided with his truck at a rail crossing near his residence in Montgomery, Ill. Hughes went on to sue the Norfolk Southern Railway company, claiming negligence in regards to warning motorists of dangerous conditions. In the lawsuit, it was stated that the two-time UFC welterweight champion suffered “severe, progressive and permanent brain and bodily injuries.”

Hughes made an appearance at a UFC show in St. Louis in January 2018, showing how much he’d recovered from the accident. On Tuesday, Hughes shared a series of images and videos on Instagram to commemorate the date of his accident, showing both his injured state following the collision and how he’s progressing today.

View this post on Instagram

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 Jun 16, 2020 at 7:34am PDT

In the videos, Hughes can be seen in his earliest stages of rehab and later continuing his physical therapy after having regained some of his muscle mass. The post is also accompanied by a statement in which Hughes expresses his gratitude as well as his difficulties coming back from the accident.

“My life has changed so much in these past three years,” Hughes wrote. “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.”

Hughes has publicly addressed the personal problems he faced following his accident, including allegations of domestic violence from his now-estranged wife Audra (which he denied) and a dispute with his brother Mark in which Hughes allegedly became physical with Mark’s teenage son and damaged a tractor they owned (the case was resolved via a private settlement), both of which surfaced in February of last year.

As he works on his own recovery, Hughes offered words of encouragement to others dealing with brain injuries.

“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.”

Hughes, 46, retired from competition in January 2013. He twice held the UFC’s welterweight title and is a two-time inductee into the UFC Hall of Fame, joining the Pioneer Wing in 2010 and the Fight Wing in 2015 for his rematch with Frank Trigg at UFC 52.

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