Made in the 956: Valley native helps others after overcoming adversity
Ever since he was young, Emmanuel Lopez wanted to compete in the Iron-Man race, but in 2011, his world changed forever.
Lopez got hit by a drunk driver, but now after years of rehab and training, he is doing what some would call impossible, and he is helping others too along the way.
Emmanuel Lopez is this week's Made in the 956.
"So I am the first Valley native that has qualified for the Iron-man World Championship in Hawaii," Lopez said.
When Lopez was just in middle school, he saw an Iron Man event on TV and knew that was something he wanted to do someday.
"Within that event were inspirational stories of people just like you and I and their journey, as to how they got to qualify for this event," Lopez said. "So I knew as a kid that I not only wanted to be an Iron Man, but I wanted to be good enough to qualify and be part of this event in Hawaii, but I didn't start practicing the sport until I was 19. I have been around the sport of triathlon around 18 years now, and I've done it all, you name it, from a 5k run, to a multi Iron Man events."
But in 2011, Lopez's training came to a screeching halt.
"I was out on my usual bike ride, and unfortunately that day, I was hit by a drunk driver who was going over 50 miles per hour," Lopez said. "That accident shattered my bike, and sent me flying into the air. The next thing I knew, I woke up in the hospital bed with permanent nerve damage on my right lumbar and my right glute. So we talked about recovery, I never fully recovered because some muscles never really came back, but it took me four years to come back to the sport."
Lopez came back strong by doing his own training and also training others.
Watch the video above for the full story.