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May 28, 2023

How do you survive multiple brain injuries, learn to walk again and persevere? Bill Copple tells us

How do you survive multiple brain injuries, learn to walk again and persevere? Bill Copple tells us

Bill Copple shares his lifelong struggle with brain injury and why he says "Working out can save your life." Inspiring story from an inspiring man!

One thing you notice right away about Bill Copple. He is someone who never ever gives up. Like at all. After surviving  a horrendous motorcycle accident at the age of 19 which left him in a coma, he worked hard to learn to walk again.

Several brain injuries would follow! But they did not stop Bill from scuba diving with sharks, parasailing, participating in MS walks, and now, at age 49, living independently and exercising daily!

His message to us? "Working out can save your life."
His inspiring story reminds us that most of us really don't have an excuse to be inactive!

You can find Bill's book '19 Years" on Amazon.com:

Reach out to him on email:  nine10years@gmail.com

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Original music "Saturday Sway" by Brendan Talian



Hello, you've reached the storied human podcast hosted by me Lynne Thompson. Each week I share a story, either an interview with someone fascinating, or a short solo from me. I love your stories,and I learn so much from them.Hopefully you will too. So welcome. If you are new here,I'm so happy to have you. If you are a returning listener, many thanks. So here it is the next episode of the storied human Hello. My guest this week is Bill Koppel. An amazing man from California, who has survived several brain injuries in his life was in a coma, had to learn to walk again, and against all odds is living independently now at almost 50 years old, taking daily walks, and generally staying active. He has swum with sharks. While scuba diving has participated in 100 mile ms walks has been a personal trainer, and more. While his brain injuries can make his words harder to understand for some, I urge you to try to listen to his inspiring story.Or you can read his full story in the accompanying transcript of this episode. I can't tell you how much he makes me want to walk and be active. That is his main message is that working out can save your life because his accident happened when he was only 19. And he was in really good shape. And that really helped his recovery. And he's continued working out and staying active even when it's hard. So I give you the inspiring Bill Koppel.Okay. The way my story starts,is four days before I turned 19I was out riding with a group of friends of mine. We are a motorcycle enthusiast enthusiast, and we got together weekly, or bi weekly or monthly or whatever, just to say hi and do them. And we would go on various lives to different places and do different things.We chose this weekend to go on.I'm not some how familiar you are with SoCal whatnot. We are national highway, which is very windy, back and forth mountain road. And so it was I the thing that I took the car to quickly which is possible, they sure.But I ended up they have all the mountain roads, that little cutouts whatever, where people can stop and take pictures and do things like that. Evidently,I got into one of those when down on my side, and I said over the mountain. Like apparently,second helicopter had to come up to get me the first one. Because I didn't expect you to be an AI and all because they weren't properly set up. And they were just one now a fuel. They didn't expect to have to take somebody alive from the mountain to a hospital. They the first topper couldn't go. So I had to wait for a second topper. And the paramedic from the second chopper came and saw me in one of my last hospital stays. And he told me that from what they picked me up. The road up above was somewhere between 1000 to1200 feet. Oh my god. So I fell.And for me that is that I was in a coma for three months. I was in the hospital for about six months or actually there was a not person there that third hospital for about about Yeah,okay. Yeah, about I was in the hospital for about six months. I was because of therapy and whatnot. I did. Because I want to do. I started walking again about one year later, when I started walking again. And then was within about about a year later, almost that I started at a college program. In Southern California. We got to one of our college programs that we've started in trying to make nationwide order is a head injury resort or head injury training pro program. So we're not live live and do various things. I got more than that was like so within two years. And that's a two year program that I went through and I successfully graduated from that. Oh, no real big issues. Exactly. When I started that I was still using in my wheelchair by the time I was doing I was using a walker.Wow. So and then within a year or two after that. I was using cane crutches at some point. I don't remember how long it's been. It's been active. This October will be 330 years since that accident happened. So that was severe enough back then I don't know how I feel about going to school. I don't know how you survived you were on In 19, and it's terrifying to think you went over a mountainside. Did you have what were your injuries? Like? Did you have brain damage? Did you have broken bones?The old bulls that I broke with I don't know why but don't we both I wrote I broke a bone in my nose, the goodness. And I,there was concern about this carnation in my neck, which I did was never diagnosed specifically at that moment with this herniation. But there was concern that way. And then if there's concern about broken I've drawn a blank now but above him back art. No, I didn't break my back, but it was concerned about the bulk of bones.Alright, so I noticed that they told me they said I broke the bone in my nose. I saw I know that from believable.Do you remember going over the mountain?I don't. Unfortunately, it was really, really, really upsetting. The motorcycle that I crashed on was essentially my dream, but there's almost always one. Okay, I had it for about two months before my accident. I remembered specific things on that motorcycle that I did. But in my memory. It's all another motorcycle that I had before that. So I don't even remember my dream bike. Which is very,very upsetting. I remember things that happened to me on that bike. But I don't remember that. But remember,I do know that that's usually what happens. People don't they can't remember. I mean, it's probably good that you don't remember. So now you've you've done an amazing thing. And I think it might have been easier to heal being so young, right?But you worked at it. And you started to walk and you graduated to a cane. And then how long did you have before something else happened? Because I feel like you're gonna tell me about something else.I portrayed physically speaking,I was pretty lucky I did. I broke my ankle bar six years later, it's all been, I think,but that's just life to happen,you know, kind of thing. So I,for the most part of liver function. I had, I got a job. I got my license back. So I was writing them again. And at first I was running cars is about 10years later, or not from exact dates on some of these things.But about 10 years later, I actually started riding bikes at home again.Oh, you got back on the bike. No bicycle at first. I even at that moment, I've never expected to be able to get back on a motorcycle again. Yeah, but as a turns out, I would only quit the93 So I was 17 when I turned 36So 17 years later, that's when I started my I took a motorcycle training course again to get my lines back. I got my back and I did that I made I rode my motorcycle. I've done a couple of times minimum rode my motorcycle from LA here to Vegas. Wow. And back so I thought even at that time at what I did, and that's why I keep pulling I just keep going or I just keep going I didn't have my second hand under it until and it worked out my first time before I turned it in then it's just rolled I don't know how why but six months after I turned 38 My first accident okay and a couple months after that is in March of 13 I had a bicycle accident I don't recall know what happened why but I had a bicycle accident and that one created another brain bleed oh my god it was in the hospital good nor nearly as bad as physically detrimental as the first one but I was in the hospital again for about only a couple of months this time. My gosh I slowed down a little bit some of that back even what is except aggravated however is that I don't know how well you can notice or especially as you didn't know me report per se right. What you know, I slowed down my thought processing and even my speaking ability and speed speaking is slower and more can be jumble and things tend to rise and make it that much more difficult to be understood and are in talk and hopefully I'm not having to throw that worked on him toward from your understanding me but I'm not having trouble. I didn't know you'd before but I don't see a big slowdown. No.I worked very hard to get back.I know I remember. That was it The speaking score, for example,and I know now that it's not as noticeable speaking score, per se, but I know factually, I think slower moving for you can feel it for every score, and what's really aggravating for me. But because I keep have somebody else, each accident slows me down a little bit more.Yeah, it's, although I will accept that, since I've had nine injuries. Now, the work that I'm speaking with you period is its own miracle, we're our own miracle before but claim or refuse to quit.That's a killer story. I cannot believe you. You just keep on going.That's one of my concerns is that people aren't going to believe can't, we're not going to believe it so much. I've had men had injuries to them, I broke or two of them I had break with an injury. I did a foot didn't end over on my bike, and I broke my neck via when I landed on my head. I broke my neck and see to kind of like Chris Murray.Oh, my God. That's right. He broke his neck. Now do you? Did you, Ark? Do you wear a helmet?Were you wearing a helmet for these?I? Yeah. I mean, I'd ride my bike because I can I do ride my bike now. Yeah, oh, Lord,consider wanting to slow down or not riding my bike as much because I'm just I'm getting tired avoids getting injured, I would like to quit kind of. I mean, I've still got a mind because in the end, I got to get around, I've got to do things, I had to take care of myself, I gotta get to the store or pay bills or do their thing. And healthy. Yeah, thank God that I'm an American, and I get some security and all I get to do but the government supported me. I'm not happy about that. Okay.But no, no, that's what it's that's what it's for. When you have difficulties when you need help. That's what it's for. And you shouldn't feel bad about that at all. But I'm amazed, I think you're alive because you wear your helmet. And because you believe in God. That's why you're alive. You know,I don't will not die. I'm happy by it. Or by doing this talk with you, for example, this can expand my horizon and our abilities. And my goal would be to start up, what's your hand do present? But I want what I'm,that's why I got taught, got started with it on credit. And the credit thing was because,um, what did you mean, you learn about these issues? And how I can get my name out there and or my podcasting out there and or what I could to do next? And I was hoping that maybe I can learn something by watching or locking you into what you do you hear math for bikes with water?Or is it something, but our concern is I know, I'm also I mentioned in meeting people meeting meeting like yourself,and just because I'm wanting to need to learn the wall, how the rest of the world thinks and works and does things too. So yeah, I consider a big part of the picture.I think the more you talk to people, the more inspired they will be. You just never know who's going to hear your story and feel like if he could do it,you know why you can do it. And that is such a powerful thing.That's a big reason why I do this podcast is I feel like people tell their stories, they share how they got through something. And what they learned. And we never know who's out there listening. I know that it helps people. It inspires people. I mean, you've been through so much. Somebody who's been through just a little bit of it would say oh my gosh, you know, he's he had it so much worse. I gotta keep going. If he could do it, I can do it. That's just super powerful. And you when you reach out like that is when you really help people.Right? Yeah, I'm trying to do and I said I'm hoping to threaten our words and our abilities.But could you remind me what the title of your book is? I'm really intrigued that you said earlier. I wrote this just before my second, my second head. So I'm leaving that out.Oh my gosh, 19 years and there's a picture of you on the front.It's very nice.Not to Die more that more. So with that, that I got there. But um, yeah, that was my third motor. So I rode that bike, rode out to Vegas a couple times. Of course, my name is on the promo Bill combo. That's why I usually do is I put people's contact information and I'll put your book title in the show notes. You know the little bit of text that's on the episode and people Will, you know, we'd probably like to know how to get in touch with you.Oh, well, for that the email that I gave you, that's the best. That's the one I'm gonna try and use basically for encouraging. Guys expanding my horizons and abilities are bought webcasting or whatever.I'm not certain the best way to do it or whatever, but 19 years that's why that was my man 1819years at Gmail and tried to come up with a title, such as 119years like that is comprehended by somebody else already. So I couldn't I couldn't make that my that's, I don't ask why started out and made 19 year but what I did and my email.Alright, I'll make sure I put that in the show notes. So people can reach out to you. So what are your plans for the future? Is there another book coming out? Wouldn't mind why didn't another book, but I have no desire to write a book. I didn't want this person to write a book. Yeah, I don't blame you. Or me.It's hard read the book. And so no, it's hard to write a book.It's really hard to write a book.Yeah. So I not set out that prospect. And my first book, I don't know how why, but I'll be able to come up with an outline what I wanted to say how I wanted to say,basically, and I kept a picture of that outline in my head on a piece of paper in my head, and I wrote my book. Yeah. Okay. Now,I got so many activists or so many actors and issues, whatever we're talking about, I can't come up with an outline,essentially, or no book. I wouldn't mind talking with somebody to walk in with somebody or I'm not going to let them know about I when I was younger, I remember being younger, I hated I hated reading and writing a two but I detected now I, I read some from a book every night before we go to bed.Just other things. It's good to reach good read and expand your writing and knowledge. But also read read the book is a great,great way for me to get sleepy.So yeah. an hour out a bit better.That's what my husband does. It makes him fall asleep every night. Yeah, yeah. So yeah, I mean, if you felt like it, you could do that people work with ghost writers. And I remember hearing that, you know, there's like three different ways you could go like, if if they write a lot of it, it's in the book is called Inspired by Bill's story.But if you if you give a lot of subject matter and they just help you then it's as told by right. So there's different I know, ready since I wrote but I will take I'm proud of the fact that I did I put the energy and effort into writing this book. Okay, that's not a small thing. Anybody take that away from me? I whether or not a good only me but I'm an author. And that alone southern decent bed?I think.Not everybody can write a book bill. That's really kind of amazing.If you could say, I've heard this is after my first accident.I got only eight more. Minimum eight letters now. So I really,really I didn't like it the first time. Right?That's a lot of accidents. So where are you today? Like, are you feeling well? Do you take care of yourself?Well, yes and no idea or Yes, I am. I do take I live on my own in my own apartment. I because the government told me no, but I got enough money for rent and for food. And I got a friend and people around me who are willing and able to help me out and give me rides. I got one of my neighbors is going to help me get to the store. Sometimes I need to or I got another neighbor. Mouth mouth. Good bit Barbet taking me turds are doing different things getting around.I guess they helped me get out because I had to do I do a bank and do a couple of things in the shop and go by and tell them Tor helped me to do that. So fortunately, I'm not. I don't repel people. I mess up that people want me and me. So I've been able to redo get help and working hard and take care of myself. This is what he did.Yes. So what do you feel that you learned from all of this?Like what do you want to tell people? What's the number one thing you want to tell people?That one say that working out will save your life? Okay,working out will save your life.aren't going to the gym when I was 14, or 15. Because I wanted to get bigger, stronger for the boys football, high school football, I was never really good at football. And I wasn't big for football, even though I was an alignment of the 150pound lineman was so, so great.So that's kind of small, alone still is on the small side. But Hunter figured that alignment is not beneficial per se, I was only 150 pounds above trying to go into the gym working out prior to increase my muscle mass and make myself bigger, stronger better. Because I did that can be argued, I kept myself in decent shape. It took quite some time. But it was about a year after my first action. I started walking to the gym again, wow,get out at that moments,particularly, I didn't expect to be ever be riding a bicycle again. Especially I never expected we were on a bicycle yet. As it turns out, it was within about 10 years, I was actually riding a bicycle again.It's amazing. 15 years I started my mum, my kids not as good as it used to be. But bottom line is I started riding the bicycle and I started keep myself busy.And I started going to the gym again, at first. And when I first started going to gym, I walk or take the ball and or take the bus to the gym and workout man or walk or take the bus home. Wow. Just because I knew I was calling the importance of and benefits of working out. And since I've had really excellent health, I still walk around now I never walk. I never I haven't ran over almost30 years now because my first because I took that availability, availability away from me. And I wasn't a good router per se before. But now I can't run that. Who cares? I get around the fact that I can walk period. Yeah, I can sort of so miraculous and amazing and beneficial for me that I can bring, you know,I just love that you look on the bright side, you keep taking care of yourself. I think that's such a great message for people.Like, I don't think we have to have an accident to work out more and feel better. You know,it's a gulf war doctrine, actions by grid team, that's the message I want to get out and we're gonna get it built benefit is beneficial. And I mean, yeah,help people understand. For example, frequently, not necessarily every day, but most days, I'll take it. And it's,it's a homerun quarter mile,which for me means something anyway, because I drove walking.But I walked barefoot on grass outside my apartment building up to a new Walking on grass graph,because theoretically, that's beneficial. I mean, new, more frost helps keep your body and more in tune with nature and kind of Yeah, the fact that I know walking on a good not going to a football field or something with a lot of grass, or in an audio point that well maybe I'm not getting as much benefit as I should. I'm looking at more the fact that I can and do walk period. Great, is that's the that's the benefit. I mean, I remember being in the wheelchair for my first for my first I was in a wheelchair for a year. I don't want to go back to wheelchair. Yeah. So I keep myself putting walking, do what I can. But you have that discipline. That's what I'm admiring so much about you. Because some people would go through even less than what's happened to you and kind of give up a little bit and not move and sort of give in. But you don't.Well, I don't give in I hate between you me I'm sorry. I hate why? Because it is so common for a lot. For example, in the reformed parks, I played football in high school, you know, when I was in second I remember in seventh grade playing chess didn't be decently so chess or you know, high school playing football, riding my motorcycle, and then walking again. You know, and then when a bicycle again and then doing all these things. By by now actually, I've gotten a wide numerous time before and after my accident. And now you're absolved from my accident. My first accident, but I got certified to go scuba dive. I scooped it up and gone diving with sharks. No way. Yeah. Now the only nurse that I saw was nurse sharks on. I've been within 20 feet of a nurse shark do this or that when I first got certified to go scuba diving. It worked out that our group of graduates from that path we got together and we went down to Cosmo and we did kin dive down in Cozumel for a week when I'm deep sea dive on general law I went on nine dives, we even went on to K Di. So I got the experience, but I've gone,basically specifically parachuting once. And I don't like to scoot over sorry, white male, I ride a bike when I work in particular, involved with muscular dystrophy, or no ms.And we went on bike rides. Two years I did this was I went to150 mile bike ride, two or three, actually three years, I went on the 100 mile bike. Wow.So brings up back to my point,working out keeping physically fit, will do amazing things for you.Well, you're certainly an example. You're a shining example of that. I mean, I can't even imagine where you'd be if you didn't keep working out and exercising. You know, you could imagine that you would be back in a wheelchair?No, I can't I of course I can't.But I mean, you're very used,stay very motivated. And how do you stay so upbeat? Because you seem very upbeat to me?We'll go there very, very, very,very good question. Because like I said, I don't like life.Exactly. Oh, I took it. It is what it is. Yeah, I've got to make as much of it as I can. I hear me I like the idea of having to be an author. And like, for example, when I woke up from my coma, it was just a retirement living facility there. They did have a couple of people that had been accidents and things like that. But most people were in there. They were,they were they were at the end towards the end of the world live anyway. But I 50 Plus, or61 plus whatever. I did not do not want to go back to that. So I worked my tail off didn't go on. And then like I said, my fourth injury. I don't know why it happened. But I broke my neck. I don't know how I recovered and or did what I did.All I know is that in yet physically walking on key myself, please, at least decent shape. I'm still here. Go up and well. You know,I am so impressed with you. I think you could teach people so much about having the right attitude being realistic,staying motivated. You know,it's all they're very realistic and motivated.Yeah. I because the idea of having to rely having to rely on somebody else. I mean, I can't get around very well, right now I need a lot help good shopping or doing different things maybe.But in the end, I'm on my own in my own apartment. I'm getting enough government assistance,and I pay the rent. And that's amazing. Yeah, that's,that's,oh my god. So I'm not overly concerned, cognitively able enough. I've got bogged down money in savings. I got money and saw nobody Warren Buffett but I have a general basic idea to what I'm doing that I'm to at least the bare minimum or get myself out of the hospital and or away away from some little thing.Now I'm wondering if your parent do you still have your parents with you? Are they still alive?They're still live. My dad moved to my they are divorced. And my dad has currently with his third wife. He's living in Florida right now. And my mother is was living in Southern California until just a couple years ago.But because she can alert working situation within someone that she's able to get one fell through, essentially. And so she had to move back home essentially to Arizona, to Tucson, Arizona. I visited that numerous Tidewater from before I haven't visited her that there since she moved out there. Not that I don't want that. For me to get around and have the money to do that is so I have done she is the buddy me. And as of the moment I'm planning on doing,she's invited me out there to Tucson, Arizona for December of this year.So nice. Yeah, I was just wondering what that was like for them. You know, I'm a mom and I can't imagine my 19 year old being in a coma and I just must have been so hard for them.Yeah, it was. Since I'm not a parent, it was pretty much didn't want to be a parent but I don't have any clue that I'm doing too well and things like that are not necessarily exactly thankful that I'm alive but I certainly thankful that I can I'm doing what I'm doing. I would look at it. I right next to Ali 50 In just over a year.Okay. Wow, I'm gonna turn 50You don't look like you're gonna turn 50 over you must be all that working out.As far as I could get that's what it is. That's, that's what it is. I'm almost tempted basically and with all I will argue that we'll have a hand in Dude I've had on the one hand,and 100 You know, because all I had to go through on one and I also consider myself a baby because I have to keep each head injury, or at least the first couple edited. They took so many years away from me again, I my physical ability in actuality,that champion baby again want to go if somebody asked me to now,we're going to be asked how old I am. My immediate answer. I don't know. Yeah.It makes sense, right?I'm almost 20 Yes, technically.But with all that I've been through. Not only did I make it to the first time that I came back to a great extent, a great accent. And I mean, I've only done it more often, the more time so I don't know where to get myself that way.Yeah. So do you have any siblings any brothers or sisters?I have a younger brother. And right now he's trying to live his life. He was done. I believe he's somewhere in a door right now. Wow. Burberry, we're not necessarily close. He's mom is fine and doing a decent job, I guess, obtaining communication with him. But he's written off my dad. Definitely. And he's not overly enthused about staying in contact with me. And while apparently is what it is, and so,yeah. Well, I can't thank you enough for coming on my podcast and sharing everything you shared. I am so excited to see what you're going to do next.I'm very inspired by your story.I know my listeners will be and is there anything else that we didn't say? Is there anything else you'd like to add? That I would try and today I call myself Sharky? Because I've got a couple of tattoos a shark and I got cobalt tied to the shorts because the first one I got before I graduated high school is because I consider myself a mental so my shorts are survival. I'll be David live for hundreds of years. And they've been around for eons and mins so they know how to survive. Yeah,that's why I call myself a survivor. I got my first tattoo just before my first act and I got my second tattoo probably five years before but before my second accident but since already gone to what I knew I wanted to do sorts again because starch are survivors definitely I call myself a survivor or or certain because I am I think that's really I think that's really cool to connect like that was an animal I also liked by the way that you walk on grass because I'm a big believer in connecting with nature that keeps us in balance. I think that's so good for you. And and you know some people believe that it grounds you you know spiritually grounds you but the studies have been done when I started I used to be more involved in a head injury group we meet we can okay and one other which remained and they studies were done have been done to demonstrate the benefits of working out or walking and the benefits your hell it keeps you more in tune with nature and nature more in tune with you can kill us all living longer. But I am a big proponent of living beneficial and or to the unicorns I can't on my own you very in a very real way you've added quality to your days you know your life has more quality, better quality, because you exercise you keep going and I'm embarrassed to say I don't walk as much as I should. And now you're making me want to walk like after after we get off I'm gonna go walk let's go for walking recall from all my head injury boards I quit played with his eyes alignment and high school football. My knees are not as good as they used to be because I broke my ankles a couple times. There's questions there but in men I have to it's better if I use my cane when I do but I walk and it's only a quarter one quarter mile half mile but I do the walks and just walking periods it's been a failure. I know enough and nor believe enough about the physical physicality of why that just go sub walk in are the only core wealth not better than nothing.Absolutely right.All right Greg came if you live their high school soccer pro whether you would wait you walk up and down the bar just a one way aisle of a football field you did that day they don't do amazing things to me because I know when I was a personal trainer for a while also, but I know that I know the different aspects of keeping yourself going not that you're burning more energy, you're burning more calories so that you can eat more or whatever. I mean, I'm not thin but I'm not I'm not have But either I eat a lot but yet I work. I keep myself physically going I walk and you know, I, I used to go to the gym. And I really liked to start going back to the gym again. And with them with a bicycle back and I might insist are starting to open up from Cora. They've been open the back up from Coronavirus issues. For a while now. I wasn't thinking about going back again. But right now specifically, I'm having more difficulties keeping my body and mind in proper function. It's a lot more easier for me to be tired and or confused and or to be busy. Yeah, I've had so many.I'll blame it on the head injury. And that's a good way to go. But I am bringing out the standard general safest way to do it anyway. But that's who I am. That's what I'll do.Yeah. Well, I just can't thank you enough. I'm very excited about people hearing your story.And I'm gonna put your email and the name of your book in my show notes. Is there a place they can order your book? Do you have a special website?What is Amazon books.com?So if we look for it on Amazon,we'll find it on Amazon 19 years.All right. Well, thank you. I hope we get to talk again.But if you wrote a fifth way we can view Gmail on how that would definitely. Definitely. You take care. Thank you. Bye bye bye.