Matt Grice: My nurse says I'm a 'walking miracle'

MMA Fighting

The toughest moment in Matt Grice's recovery from a terrible auto accident came not soon after he emerged from a medically induced coma.

The 32-year-old UFC featherweight from Oklahoma City, who suffered traumatic brain injuries in the Sept. 8 incident in Shawnee, Okla., has a wife and two daughters.

But he couldn't remember them.

"I woke up, and I didn't remember being married and didn't remember having kids," Grice said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "It really shook me up. So they brought someone in and explained everything and showed me pictures. Now I remember almost everything, it just threw me for a loop and I just started bawling right then and there."

Grice was nearly killed while stopped at a red light by a distracted driver who rear-ended his car at a high speed. He had to undergo emergency surgery that evening.

"I don't remember the accident at all," Grice said. "I guess I got rear-ended and the guy went 65 MPH. He never hit his brakes or anything and he hit me going 65. ... He said he was distracted by his grandkids. Luckily they were OK, I think one of them hurt their nose or something. They ended up being alright. He wasn't paying attention apparently. It was a stoplight you could see almost for a mile. How he was distracted that long, I don't know."

But the mentally strong Grice has made remarkable progress. While his recovery still has a ways to go, he's back home after a long hospital stint, undergoing outpatient physical therapy, and grateful to be back home with his loved ones.

"I was in the hospital almost month and a half two months," Grice said. "I do my outpatient rehab, so I do my rehab during the day, and then at night now I can come home to my family. It's awesome. It was amazing, I'm a homebody anyway so it felt really good to see my kids and my wife and everything."

Grice admitted he didn't comprehend the degree of his injuries until he got encouraging words from one of his outpatient nurses.

"One of the nurses in rehab, she was looking at my chart, she said you're just a walking miracle, reading your chart and talking to you, I can't even explain how much of a miracle you are to be where you're at. I'm just blessed by God to be moving like I am."

The fighter still has another major surgery ahead of him, scheduled for Dec. 13. He appeared on The MMA Hour bearing a large scar on his head from the previous brain surgery, in which a portion of his skull was removed. It will be reattached.

"The brain surgeon had to act immediately," Grice said. "He said the quicker he got in, the better. They had to take this part of my skull out, they're supposed to put the rest of my skull back in in December. I'm looking forward to that, I'm hoping that when my skull gets back in I should improve some. Keep getting better until 100 percent."

In the meantime, Grice gets through his tougher moments by visualizing being back at full strength. Grice was a patrol officer with the Oklahoma City police department, and says he has a job waiting for him when he's able to return.

"Police department has been awesome, they're holding a position for me," Grice said. "It just depends what kind of work I was going, whether I go to patrol, because I was a patrol officer, or whether I can do some kind of inside work, we'll have to wait ‘til the skull gets put back in and the doctors tell what I'll be allowed to do."

And while this is a long way off at best, Grice -- who thrilled fans at UFC 157 with his battle against Dennis Bermudez, which remains a strong candidate for Fight of the Year in a year filled with great fights -- won't rule out a return to the Octagon.

"I talked to one of the doctors and it depends on putting the skull back in and how it all does," Grice said. "Like I said, I'm only two months into this deal and it's surprising how along I am already, so they're not ruling anything out. I'm hoping yeah, I'd love to fight again. That's what I do, I enjoy what I do, it's fun and I just love competing, I hope I can do it again."

If you'd like to continue following Matt Grice's progress, check out the Grice Strong Facebook page maintained by Matt's wife, Caroline.

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