Sacremento,CA(WorkCompAcademey) - In workers' compensation claims, it is not uncommon for claim administrators to encounter claimants who assert that they are profoundly disabled from the effects of what seems like a trivial injury. A minor hand injury can end up a multi-body part claim of disability basically from head to toe.
But not everyone succumbs to the effects of injury, even a catastrophic injury. The events of this Veteran's day weekend offered a good example.
Ask Rob Jones. He braved the cold weather on Veterans Day to complete his mission: running 31 marathons in 31 days. This challenge was after losing both his legs to an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2010, Jones has shown endurance that few can rival and certainly would not be seen by many as "disabled."
"I'm pretty sore, but overall I am feeling pretty good," Jones told Stars and Stripes as the sun rose over the Lincoln Memorial. Jones' final run was on the National Mall in Washington, where he ran 26.2 miles to support his fellow veterans and raise money for charity.
Jones was laid out on a couch before setting out for his final run shortly after 7 a.m., bandages being taken of his back after falling during a race in Atlanta. He sat up, his artificial legs off, and clearly thought about this last race while he spoke.
Jones began his quest Oct. 12 in London, then flew to the States to race in Philadelphia, New York and Boston. He has raced in nearly every major city since then, running the equivalent of a marathon each day.
There was an air of exhaustion and pain about him, but he seemed determined. "I'm feeling good. I'm excited about this last one. It is going to be painful," he said.
Or ask Brian Shul. He flew 212 combat missions in Vietnam and was shot down near the Cambodian border in an AT-28 Air Force jet near the end of the war. He was so badly burned that he was given next to no chance to live.
Barely surviving 2 months of intensive care, he was flown to the Institute of Surgical Research at Fort Sam Houston, Texas in 1974. During the following year, he underwent 15 major operations. During this time he was told by physicians that he'd never fly again and was lucky to be alive.
Months of physical therapy followed, enabling Shul to eventually pass a flight physical and return to active flight duty. Two days after being released from the hospital, Shul was back flying Air Force fighter jet aircraft. He flew the the A10, A7 and the F5. As a final assignment in his career, Shul volunteered for and was selected to fly the SR-71. This assignment required an astronaut type physical just to qualify, and Shul passed with no waivers.
Shul said after the rigorous physical "I did very well, passed the physical. The guy said, 'wow, you've got one of the highest scores we've ever seen.' I was very strong internally, even if I looked like hell on the outside." He became a member of a small, select group of men who had the privilege of flying the SR-71.
He ended up flying the SR-71 Blackbird for four years. The SR-71 was the world's fastest and highest-flying operational manned aircraft throughout its career. It broke an "absolute altitude record" of 85,069 feet. That same day it set an absolute speed record of 2,193.2 mph approximately Mach 3.3. It has flown from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., at an average speed 2,144.8 miles per hour with an elapsed time of 64 minutes 20 seconds to cross the continent.
Shul's comeback story from lying near dead in the jungle of Southeast Asia, to later flying the world's fastest, highest flying jet, seems to suggest that the will to overcome "disability" is a major component to the healing process after what would otherwise be a catastrophic injury.