As rescue crews sawed the van in half to free Gene Hurley, the equipment cut his ear and that’s when the ringing began — that and the debilitating headaches. Unknown to Hurley, he’d been in a rollover accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
That was 10 years ago. After losing three years of memories and after years of physical therapy, the headaches still didn’t stop, Hurley said. He’d tried everything until his doctor told him to walk.
“I trusted him, but I thought he was a quack. Walking couldn’t stop the pain,” said Hurley, 59.
Most people walk to lose weight, but Hurley initially began walking at Anytime Fitness one year ago to get rid of pain.
“I took to it immediately, and the headaches were gone,” he said. “The doctor said the endorphins had something to do with it. But now I walk because I sleep better, eat better and I think I’ve lost weight because I slide my pants on and off.”
Last month Hurley won member of the month at Anytime Fitness because, according to gym records, he worked out more than anyone else.
And that’s not surprising considering he sometimes comes to the gym twice a day, at least three times a week, and walks 14-minute miles for two hours each visit. Gym manager Samantha Campbell said he even comes in at 5 a.m. on Saturdays to work out.
“I do it for me, not because I’m competitive or anything,” Hurley said. “I don’t even eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or eat past 7 p.m. at night. I don’t need it and I feel great.”
Hurley is still on disability, but volunteers as a school-crossing guard at House Creek Elementary in Cove. He said he can’t wait to see his doctor again in six months to tell him how walking has changed everything.