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World Champion Pro Athlete Jamie Crane-Mauzy on holistic health, mental wellness, and recovery after brain injury

No matter how healthy and physically active you are, everything can change in one instant - just ask Jamie Crane-Mauzy.

As a professional athlete and a Junior World Champion in skiing, Jamie has always had an expert level of fitness, constantly daring herself to reach new heights and conquer daunting challenges.

However, in April 2015, while competing at the World Tour Finals, Jamie crashed, went into a coma, and became paralyzed.

After the unthinkable, what happened next is quite possibly even more surprising - eight months after the accident, Jamie had made a full recovery.

She went from being one of the world’s best slopestyle skiers to relearning basic gross motor skills, like walking upstairs and riding a bike.

Jamie didn’t let the results of this horrific accident keep her down. She worked hard to recover, leaning on her mother, Fruit (aka, Mama Mo-Crazy), sister Jeanee, and charged forward in life with optimism, truly showcasing a miracle in the face of trauma.

Since recovering from her accident, Jamie has spoken in front of audiences ranging from 20 to 1 000 people and presented at nonprofit galas, business conventions, and medical schools all over the globe.

Her family has worked hard to support her through the difficult times in life and became caregivers for her for a period of time. Jamie aspires to help others who go through similar accidents and her family works to help caregivers manage the demands and responsibilities that are thrown on to them usually without warning.

Jamie, her sister and mother have taken her experience and turned it into something positive in order to help others who are experiencing similar situations.

As the anniversary of Jamie’s accident is approaching, she spoke exclusively with GLAMOUR South Africa about her journey as a world-famous athlete, how she strives to always focus on her mental and physical health and happiness, how her mother and sister advocated for her recovery, and how she learned to become just as physically active as she was prior to the crash.

How do you all define health and wellness?

All: Health and wellness encompasses the attributes that lead to living a fulfilling life. Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Wellness is actively pursuing the goals and process of being in good mental and physical health.

The five primary attributes of wellness are mindset, nutrition, physical, social, and spiritual. People can achieve health and wellness through lifestyle.

Nature therapy, functional nutrition, music therapy, physical activity and training, psychotherapy, and laughing are some of our favourite ways to maintain our health and wellness.

Has your approach to health and wellness changed given all of the events you’ve overcome?

All: Changed no, but our events have shown us the importance of becoming advocates for what we have learned, through the healing processes we have lived through.

Currently Mama MoCrazy is getting her PHD in Mind Body Medicine to combine all her knowledge in health and wellness.

Jamie is studying neuroscience in order to have a deeper understanding of how the brain works scientifically in regards to health and wellness.

Jamie, what steps did you take to become physically fit again, and regain your strength? Did you ever think you’d be able to ski again, yet alone exercise?

Jamie Crane-Mauzy (JM): From the moment my mind returned in the hospital after 6 weeks of amnesia, I was positive I would return to skiing.

At that time I couldn’t walk and many medical professionals did not believe I would ski again much less walk. Medically I am a miracle, yet the fact that is amazing is what I learned through my recovery is repeatable! It all starts with the mindset.

Having a growth mindset allows you to see the opportunities you have in your life to start climbing an alternative peak. In the process you set attainable goals, those are goals you know you can accomplish the day you set them and will allow you to start climbing the path toward your dreams.

During the entire process of climbing an alternative peak make sure to enjoy the climb. Every day do something that makes you happy and smile, maybe it’s walking the dog, or making a good meal.

What are some of the things that helped you the most throughout your recovery and healing?

JM: A big thing that helped was to think creatively with my mindset. For example, after I went home from the hospital I was very weak and needed a break after hiking for five minutes. As someone who had been a professional athlete before my accident, this was extremely humiliating.

My mom decided to teach me to point out looking at the view everytime I needed a break. As we were hiking in Park City, Utah the views were amazing! Thinking about looking at the beautiful view instead of feeling depressed that I needed a break helped with my mindset.

What steps do you take daily to stay strong, both mentally and physically?

JM: The steps I took started with mindset and included setting attainable goals, and being my person best throughout the processes.

These steps are what we teach through our programs in MoCrazy Strong. Many steps played a vital role in my injury recovery and continue to do so today.

Knowing how nutrition affects my mood allows me to choose food every day that is beneficial for me.

When it all felt like it was too much, what kept you going?

JM: Staying focused on enjoying my current life and doing something fun that makes me happy. Step away from what is overwhelming and stressful. If career work is stressing me out, I go do fitness, like pilates or yoga.

Jeanee and Mama MoCrazy, how did you both transition into caregiver roles? What should other people know about assuming such a profound responsibility?

MM: I don't know if I can truly classify it as a transition. In a blink of an eye I went from the little sister, to someone who had to make decisions on my sister's health.

And had to become the big sister role. MoCrazy Strong makes it our mission to help supply the information and tools to other caregivers of Traumatic Brain Injury, and the confidence and steps for people of all abilities to overcome their struggles.

JM: As Jeanee said, it’s not a transition. It is a cataclysmic disruption of your life. And yet, as a mom, some aspects can be connected to raising your child the first time.

Know you are the advocate in all areas of your loved one’s life and healing. Take moments to rest and rejuvenate yourself. Ask for what you need. Be grateful for the moments you have. Know it isn’t easy. It’s normal and OK to be overwhelmed, have moments of despair.

And then look for the positive. Surround yourself with loving, positive, and supportive people.

What were some of the methods you used to help Jamie heal her brain? Certain foods, cognitive exercises, etc?

All: We could go on and on, which we have, at and with the Brain Injury Alliance of Utah. Integrative Functional Nutrition, Nature Therapy, Aromatherapy and touch therapy with essential oils, Yoga, Meditation, Mindset, Massage, Music Therapy, Reiki.

We used Rosetta Stone in English. The first time Jamie was fascinated, but couldn't complete even the first simplest lesson.

What is your advice for other families in situations like this to help their loved ones heal?

All: Immediately get educated on the power you have as a caregiver. We hope our 10 videos and graphic handouts for the Brain Injury Alliance of Utah will help caregivers become educated in their power and the steps of healing to deliver to their patient. It all starts with the mindset of both the caregivers and survivors.

What do all of your workout routines look like? How often are you skiing?

All: We have a fantastic fitness trainer, Hannah Kearny. She is a three-time Olympic mogul skier who won a gold and a bronze. During COVID, she has been doing live workouts on Zoom Tuesday/Thursday mornings and Sunday afternoon - open to the public! Mama MoCrazy does yoga every single day, As of today she has done yoga 1055 days, at airports, on trains, in ski boots, in museums to match the statues.

We downhill ski on the mountain usually five to seven days a week. Mama MoCrazy is a ski instructor. We cross country ski one to three days, and dog walking through the snow, and snowshoeing.

When you’re not on the snow, what are your favorite ways to workout and stay healthy?

All: We are huge beach people. We love to spend as much time as we can on the beach. Beach runs, bike rides to the beach, bikini beach workouts and yoga are high on the list of favorites.

Mama MoCrazy and Jeanee both love to run, Jamie mountain bikes, everyone hikes, does yoga. Pilates classes, and fitness classes are always part of our regular routine.

March 8 was International Women’s Day - what did this mean to you all, as such a tight-knit group?

All: Everyday should be International Women's day. Although women are getting so many more opportunities than they once were, it's not enough. We need to actively be pushing and uplifting women.

MoCrazyStrong is a strong feminine ski family. We believe in continuing to actively empower women to rise to their best self. Mama MoCrazy believes that the self-esteem of women is still being socially and culturally manipulated.

Our culture teaches girls to behave or in other words step sideways instead of stepping up to their own personal best. Our own foremothers were suffragists. It is our privilege and duty to continue to carry out the message they believed in and fought for.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #ChoosetoChallenge. Certainly, as the MocrazyStrong ladies we are ready, willing, and able to challenge ourselves and support other women to break barriers and challenge themselves.

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