I’m the ultimate guy of 2023 – I was forced to overcome the “shame” of my injuries from the Iraq war after I couldn’t walk
Iraq War Veteran Corwyn Collier named Men’s Health 2023 Ultimate Guy.
In the years since sustaining life-changing injuries in combat, Collier has overcome numerous obstacles – including shame, which he exclusively shared with The US Sun.
The 41-year-old was only serving five months in the US military when he was nearly killed by a roadside bomb.
His serious hand and leg injuries were treated at Walter Reed Hospital and he underwent 30 surgeries over the next nine months.
Collier said it was the first time he tried to get up and walk after his injuries.
“The first day I tried to get up and walk, I couldn’t,” he told the US Sun.
He recalled that his wife Iisha then “stopped babysitting me and stopped comforting me.”
“If you want to be the man you once were, you have to start fighting for the life you want,” Collier recalled as Iisha had told him.
“That’s when I started really enjoying digging and really pushing myself through occupational therapy and physical therapy. Even though I wasn’t quite there mentally, I was starting to get stronger physically,” he said.
“That was a big turning point for me.
“She definitely gave me that tough love when I needed it most.”
“SHOCKING TO SEE ME THIS”
Collier had always had an interest in fitness, having been an athlete through high school and college, even being named a track All-American.
But during his nine-month hospital stay, he lost 70 pounds.
“I hadn’t seen myself this skinny since I was probably in eighth grade,” Collier shared.
“It was shocking to see me like this.”
Collier said he’s always loved the gym and that weightlifting is one of his favorite things to do.
Despite his injuries, he found his palm was still able to hold bars – although he remained afraid to use his leg.
“Everything I did, I was very careful in the beginning,” he shared.
After being discharged from the hospital, Collier went to occupational and physical therapy to ensure he continued to gain strength.
“I pushed myself a little bit more,” Collier said, about going to the gym on top of his therapies.
“All those little things helped me rebuild my body and get my size back, put the weight back … It was more or less about really taking care of my body.”
“REBUILD WHAT I HAVE”
As for his health, Collier said he drinks occasionally but doesn’t smoke. He continues to focus on taking care of his body.
Getting back into training, he looked forward to “rebuilding what I have”.
“I don’t have everything,” he said, “but I’ll build back what I have.”
“Mentally it helped me because I was still not 100% up there.
“But when I went to the gym, I felt normal because I was able to lift and do things.
“I felt better inside about my injuries…didn’t mean that much as far as I was ashamed of them.
Collier said the shame about his injuries took time to overcome.
“I can’t walk around with a sign on my head that says ‘Injured Vet,'” he said.
“So it took me a long time to start wearing shorts. I used to always keep my hand in my pocket because I didn’t want people to stare at me.
“But I’ve never felt like this in the gym.”
Collier’s recovery has helped him break new ground.
Shortly after returning home from the hospital in March 2010, he began his master’s degree in education, which he completed in 2012.
Then, in 2013, he began teaching history at Maple Heights High School, where he also coaches track and field.
In addition, Collier began competing as a bodybuilder.
He was the first wounded/partial amputee veteran to receive a Pro Card from the International Federation of Body Building and Fitness in 2016.
“It was a great trip,” he said.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/7270701/2023-ultimate-guy-corwyn-collier-shame-iraq-war-injuries/ I’m the ultimate guy of 2023 – I was forced to overcome the “shame” of my injuries from the Iraq war after I couldn’t walk