“People told me from the day I woke up in the hospital that I was an inspiration, but I never really felt like I deserved that title. I survived something awful and that’s lucky. Now getting things back on track and accomplishing goals, acquiring a new and fun career while doing things people once thought were impossible—OK, that’s inspirational.”

Brendan Ferriera, who was hit by a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan in 2010 by an Afghan soldier he’d worked alongside of. Ferriera suffered traumatic brain injury, shattered every bone in his face, almost lost both legs, lost his left arm, sight in one eye and most of his hearing. Two soldiers in his unit died in the bombing. Ferriera was sewn back together 500 stitches, 75 staples and more than 40 surgeries.

Now, he is a CrossFit coach Massachusetts and an ambassador on the Taking Up Fitness (TUF) team, a joint effort on behalf of the Yellow Ribbon Fund and Blue Titan Fitness encouraging veterans to take up fitness to combat after-effects of military injuries.

Last month the TUF team entered the Civilian Military Combine crossfit competition in Brooklyn with a team made up of both civilians and veterans. The course requires intense teamwork. They had to carry a 5-foot long portion of a tree trunk through the 4-mile, 26-obstacle race, passing it from one teammate to the next.

Read Brendan Ferriera’s story: games.crossfit.com/article/survivor-mentality