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Utah woman recovers from fractured neck and back to open gym and run marathons

Tammy McKay talks about her recovery from inside her new gym in Brigham City Wednesday. (Mike Anderson, KSL-TV)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

BRIGHAM CITY – Even though she suffered severe injuries in a car crash, a Clearfield woman has thrived through her recovery.

Tammy McKay said the accident could have killed her. Her neck was fractured in five places but she said running got her through it.

Beehive Fitness in Brigham City is the latest piece in her recovery journey. She just opened it up, partnering with friends Aubrey and Jeff Stokes.

This all started more than six years ago when a truck hit her and a friend.

When you have a passion for wellness, owning a gym can seem like a dream come true.

"I have really loved fitness for a really long time," Tammy said. "And it just fit right into my lifestyle and we just ran with it."

Her journey nearly came to a screeching halt.

"On March 12, 2015, I was hit by a truck when I was crossing at a crosswalk."

She and Nan Abel were out for a morning run. McKay took the brunt of the blow.

"So I had an open tibia fracture. I fractured my neck in five places, my back in several places. All of my ribs except for one, I think," she explained.

She was lucky enough to avoid being paralyzed. Eventually, Abel started encouraging her to get out again.

"Yeah, it took about two years to get out and actually run again," she explained. "It was very, very painful. Even just for a mile. I'm used to running marathons so that a fourth of a mile was hard.

For a while, she wondered if she could keep it up.

"And it was kind of emotional for me because that's who I was. I was a runner. I was an athlete."

McKay pushed through and eventually the pain of staying in bed was worse than running.

The inside of McKay's Beehive Fitness in Brigham City.
The inside of McKay's Beehive Fitness in Brigham City. (Photo: Mike Anderson, KSL-TV)

Fast-forward to the brand-new gym, waiting for people with similar goals. Each with their own challenges.

"Anything that you're going for, if you just work hard at it and you are motivated to do it, you can overcome anything," she said.

No one would choose to go through something like that but McKay said she has much to be thankful for. "Because I know how hard work pays off in the end, to push through it."

McKay returned to running marathons but it wasn't easy to get there.

Beehive Fitness opened earlier this month. The grand opening is set for December fourth.

Mike Anderson


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