Hammer Strength Standard: Brandon Lyons is a Study in Resilience
There are notable athletes, some professional and some not, who excel in the face of adversity. They simply do things differently and aren’t satisfied with just being good enough. These standouts raise the bar and live their lives to a higher standard. Similarly, Hammer Strength isn’t content being ordinary. Our equipment is constructed to be better than the rest, and just like these athletes we’re highlighting, Hammer Strength is built to a higher standard. See all of the athletes we've featured who live life to a higher standard.
In 2014, Brandon Lyons had everything going his way. The 2012 Penn State grad was getting his young professional life started, working at Ernst & Young and living in the Washington D.C. area.
But things changed drastically during the Memorial Day weekend of 2014. On May 24, Lyons dove into shallow water and broke his back, instantly causing paralysis below the chest. At that point, Lyons faced an obstacle that few 24-year-olds have to overcome. His response to that adversity is a testament to Lyons as person and as a competitor.
Fast forward to 2019. Lyons is a world-class athlete in handcycling and a hopeful for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. How did he get there in just five years? Lyons embraced the abrupt change in his life’s direction. He worked hard and he made the conscious decision to never remain idle.
The Road Back
Lyons exudes energy and positivity, and that upbeat attitude no doubt got him through rehabilitation after his injury. Just four months after the accident, Lyons was back to work at Ernst & Young.
A month later, he handcycled in the Marine Corps Marathon, an event he had registered to run in before his accident. It was his first ever competition in handcycling.
“After a few months of being rehab and getting out, I really wanted to gain my independence again," said Lyons. "One of those ways I found independence was through sport. I had the opportunity to get into handcycling and from a competitive standpoint I really took to it. I was able to find motivation. This was an opportunity for me not only to find my passion but to find my purpose in life.”
Elite Level Competition
Lyons reached a new level of competition in 2016 when he was invited to a two-week tryout at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The audition worked, and Lyons eventually moved to Colorado Springs full time.
“They put me through an individual test and saw potential,” he said. “That’s all I was looking for. I mean, I’m extremely grateful that they (took) a chance on an athlete that didn’t have a lot of experience. And here we are three years later and I have a really good opportunity to go to Tokyo in 2020 to represent Team U.S.A. I didn't know what it truly took to be a Paralympian and then I had the opportunity to move (to Colorado Springs) and see the dedication and the work they put in every single day.”
The years of training paid of recently when Lyons was a part of three-man group that took home a silver medal in the team relay at the UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in September 2019. Lyons now has his eyes set on the Paralympic Trials, which are held in late June in Minneapolis and give him the opportunity to earn a spot at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo in August.
Serving as an Inspiration
The positive attitude that Lyons embodies is contagious. And his tireless work ethic has put him near the top of his sport. He doesn't take his success lightly and uses his journey to show others how to overcome adversity, regardless of the circumstances.
"I try to to show anyone that's going through any type of challenge, whether its (someone who is) newly injured or whether it's a challenge at their job, everyone is dealing with adversity." added Lyons. "So, if they can take part of my story, (and be) inspired to get over their challenges, I think that's a very important piece (of the story)."