Local man competes in triathlon after tragic accident

June 23, 2012 7:07:32 AM PDT
A local medical student has made a remarkable recovery after an accident that could have left him dead.

Matt Miller - a Radnor High School graduate - plans to compete in a local triathlon and is also the focus of a new book.

Miller's story starts on a Saturday morning in November 2008. At the time, he was a junior at the University of Virginia and was training for a triathlon on his bike.

"We had just reached the Blue Ridge Parkway and that's the last thing I remember," he said.

For some reason, believed to be just a freak accident, Miller swerved into an oncoming car that day.

The accident broke every bone in his face, he had a severe brain injury and stopped breathing.

Writer Michael Vitez of the Philadelphia Inquirer says what happened next was the perfect storm in reverse.

"Everything had to go flawlessly, everything had to happen perfectly for him to have a prayer to live and survive and it did," said Vitez.

In his new book, "The Road Back: A Journey of Grace and Grit," Vitez describes how first-responders, including an anesthesiologist who just happened to see the accident, saved Miller's life.

Miller was also kept in an induced coma and went through multiple surgeries - all with his family and high school sweetheart Emily Privette by his side.

"You live day to day, hour to hour and that's kind of what happened," described Privette.

After he woke up, day after day, Miller was able to respond and make an amazing recovery.

"The toughest part of the recovery for me was convincing people that I was feeling good enough - that I was in a good enough state of health to pursue the recovery," said Miller.

Within less than a year's time, he was running again and later he got back on his bike.

He wears a full-face helmet and this weekend, he'll participate in the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon.

Miller's life has picked up right where he left it. He graduated, is now in medical school and is engaged to his longtime girlfriend.

Miller says he's not one to talk or write about himself but he's thrilled if his story inspires others.

"I hope it can help people who are in tough situations to realize with hard work and a few breaks, things can really change for the better," he said.

Miller says he's not out to try to break any personal records this weekend, he's just going out to compete and have fun.

More information about "The Road Back"