Grease fire survivor inspires others through fitness - WSMV News 4

Grease fire survivor inspires others through fitness

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Months after a grease fire burned nearly 70 percent of his body, a Spring Hill man said he hopes his recovery will inspire others.

Last September, Clay Bradley nearly died in a grease fire while camping in the Cherokee National Forest. He underwent several surgeries, skin grafts and weeks of physical therapy.

Now, six months later, the 24-year-old is training to become a bodybuilder.

"I train two times a day. I usually come in around 7:30 and 8 every day. I run, then I do abs for about an hour," Bradley said.

He still has some setbacks. His wounds often split and tear as a result of the grueling workouts, and he is still regaining his sense of touch.

"This hand half of it is numb still. I can't feel from here over. So, if I'm gripping something, sometimes I'll drop it," he said.

But it's his workouts that are aiding his recovery.

"When you have a severe burn to an extremity, the tissue burns and will not stretch the way normal skin does," said Dr. Wesley Thayer, a surgeon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

His doctors expect Bradley to make a full recovery.

"He's such a physical challenging person and likes to do physical things, and I was afraid how that would affect him if he lost his hands and arms," said his mother, Wendy Bradley.

"I didn't want this fire and this whole accident to define me," Clay Bradley said. "It's extremely painful, but what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger."

He will likely need several more skin grafts and surgery on his elbow to regain full motion.

As for his upcoming body-building competition, he'll find out the results next month.

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