Beating the odds

(NBC) - Chris Brannan was once declared legally dead, but survived to become an incredible weightlifter and an inspiration to others.

"Before I got hurt, I loved to compete and I was a very good athlete," Chris said.

Against all odds, Chris is competing again, this time in a bicep curling contest to see who can lift the most. It's incredible when you consider 13 years ago Chris was stabbed in the heart during a fight at a party.

"He was declared dead on the third or fourth day, no brain activity," said Stan Brannan, Chris' father. "About 8 to 10 days he came out of what was sorta like a coma. His body was disconnected from his brain. He couldn't control any muscles."

"I couldn't eat or speak for 68 days of that," Chris said.

Slowly his mind and body began to communicate again and Chris regained some muscle function. His right arm was especially strong.

Working with a trainer, he began to challenge other weightlifters.

"He has great endurance, he can just go and go, and he's so determined," said trainer Roy Birch.

So far, Chris has beaten every opponent and Friday was no different. He did 1,151 bicep curls in about two hours, lifting up to 40 pounds each.

Still, winning is not the real message for Chris.

"Just because you're in a chair doesn't mean anything," he said. "I'm still the same guy I was."

Chris' great attitude has taught people around him to concentrate on their strengths instead of weaknesses.

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