Local woman conquers the impossible to become triathlete

Sports

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – (WEHT) Jasper native Jean Dollison wasn’t supposed to live after a severe car accident in 2012.

“My son said Mom I just didn’t understand why you didn’t talk to me, because you’ve always talked to me,” said Dollison.

Dollison’s accident caused her to be in a coma for 41 days, suffering extensive brain damage and bruising to her heart.

“The brain injury was so extensive that her heart rate would not stay stable and her body temperature would not stay stable. Those are two things that are very difficult when it comes to surviving a coma,” said Dollison’s coach and friend Anna Demerly. “Most people that go into this type of coma, never come out, and those who do come out, only one percent of them go back to any sort of normal lifestyle.”

Dollison hasn’t let the odds slow her down. Today, she isn’t just living a normal lifestyle, but on Saturday finished her first triathlon since her accident.

“I’ve coached a lot of people, but to see somebody who has come from such a deficit, to encourage everybody around her, it’s amazing,” said Demerly, who taught Dollison how to run, swim, and bike again after the accident.

Dollison said crossing the finish line over the weekend was something she never thought would be possible.

“It means everything to me because why do something if you’re not pushing other people to do it with you. I can’t imagine not being who I am and what I do. I could very well not even be here, but I am,” Dollison said.

Up next, Dollison says she hopes to keep training until she is able to do a half Iron Man competition.

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This story was originally published on July 2, 2019

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