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"Two Freak Accidents Got Me into Martial Arts"

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The jujitsu opponents Anne Pham, 29, faces on the mat are nothing compared with the obstacles she has overcome in the past decade. She was hit by a car, not once, but twice. Nine years ago, as a college senior, she was out for a run when an SUV slammed into her. She woke up in the hospital with a concussion; she stayed for three weeks and had surgery to reset two broken ribs and a fractured hip.
Disaster Déjà Vu

Recovery included a year and a half of physical therapy, during which Anne got into biking. Her fitness level improved and, in 2007, two years after the accident, Anne was well enough to complete a seven-day ride. "RAGBRAI [Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa] made me feel strong," she says. With that feat under her belt, Anne was back to her old self, hiking and even running five half-marathons.

Fast-forward three years to when the unthinkable happened: While biking home from an evening volleyball game in May 2010, Anne was hit again, this time by a car backing out of a parking space. Her rib was broken, which required two months of rest. Anne couldn't believe her bad luck, but she was determined to get back on her feet. "After the first accident, I went into a downward spiral," she remembers. "But this time, I knew I could bounce back." Once she was able, Anne signed up for one half-marathon a month for a year. "I ran each race with a different friend to celebrate being back on the road," she says. "I was in the best shape ever."

Comeback Queen

Anne still runs and bikes, but she has a fierce new passion: martial arts. "After the accidents, I felt defenseless. With jujitsu, I'm a force to be reckoned with," she says.

Be Street Smart

Every eight minutes, a pedestrian is injured by a car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Whether you're walking or biking, follow these rules.

Unplug. More than one-quarter of all walkers use an electronic device, like an MP3 player. Turn it down so you can hear what's going on around you -- or turn it off.

Get noticed. Only 43 percent of people who walk at night try to make themselves more visible to motorists. The Nike Vapor running jacket has reflective details that make you easy to spot ($100, nike.com).

Use your head. Forty-six percent of bikers never wear a helmet. Don't get on your bicycle without one.

 

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