Over a year ago, a major surfing accident put the life of JM Quiblat, a multimedia artist, performer, and surfer, in a critical condition. But miraculously, he pulled through, little by little, with the help and support of his family, friends, and the people who continue to help him get fully recovered.
If you are one of those who stumbled upon and, continuously supporting #WakeUpJM, this is his story – a story of Love, Hope, Miracle and Recovery.
Escaping the last wave
It was October 4, 2018, just before sundown, JM and his friends, Miguel Vasquez, Justin Allen, and Hutch Sabater, decided to have last surf through the waves of General Nakar in Quezon before calling it a day.
“My friends are starting to go out of the water but, Migs (Vasquez) and I decided to have one last surf. And then, I passed a wave. The tide gain low and big waves came towards me, knocking me off—that is when I lost my consciousness,” JM recalled.
Luckily, Migs felt JM’s hair and managed to pull him ashore. For four minutes, JM was not breathing. With his faint pulse, his body also turned purple. But his friends did everything to rescue him. Fortunately, Hutch knows how to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), a critical procedure to restore immediate spontaneous blood circulation and breathing.
As JM regained his breath, the group took him to the nearby hospital. But the attending physician told them that he needed more stringent attention so, they rushed him to a hospital in Manila.
Breathing a new life
CPR had extended his hours, but he wasn’t far from death. He continued to cough blood, making his ambulance room to turn crimson red, as he also incurred lung damage from the accident. Seconds after being admitted to the hospital, he fell into a coma and experienced a seizure.
JM suffered from Status Epilepticus, a continuous state of seizure with a very high mortality rate. Most of those who suffer from this condition do not recover because the longer time of the seizure, the heavier it could toll the brain. With this he had to be paralyzed by doctors by inducing hypothermia, so his brain would not get further damage.
Anticipated to be up to God, the following hours determined if he will live or, hit the bucket. His family has prepared for the worst, as the severity of his injuries was already realized. But then a miracle against overwhelming odds happened – JM woke up from coma. His body was too resilient and, his pulse kept pumping, enabling him to cling to life.
Recovering from the accident
After few months and a couple of operations, JM woke up from coma and then, he underwent physical therapies to get fully recovered from the accident. At first, the sessions were intended to at least get him move and, somehow, live a normal life. But JM showed great progress—standing and balancing were just some of things he immediately achieved after some sessions.
Until JM and his mom, Jocelyn, learned about Sante Fitness Lab (SFL) – a premier one-stop fitness center offering holistic training programs, as well as innovative recovery and sports rehabilitation.
According to Rheysonn Cornilla, JM’s coach and physical therapist at SFL, among JM’s concerns were his troubles with sudden and vigorous maneuvers. He was missing movement components because of his severe brain injury. Somehow, the trauma made him forget the basics in moving some parts of his body; his legs, in particular, and hopes for athletic activity would be impossible to do.
To solve JM’s motion problems, an intricate program was readied for him so, he can be reminded of even the small details lost due to his coma.
“We assessed JM based on his needs, and we tied it up with his goals. He wants to go back surfing but with his current state, it would be impossible. To achieve the difficult tasks, we needed to reintegrate him the basic pieces – the little steps that all adds up to accomplish more complex movements. The program for his goal will teach him to balance himself out, learn how and when to move his feet, and how to correctly shift his weight—these things were lost due to brain injury,” added coach Rheysonn.
Since JM’s recovery program is tailor-fitted to his needs, every session also entails an evaluation to prepare for the next one. This set up ensure that JM slowly regains what he had lost.
For JM’s mom, SFL somehow answered her prayers. “I call them the “Eagle Eye.” By just looking at JM, they can point out what my son needs to relearn. It is only in SFL that I learned that movement requires particularity—that when you can move normally, you will not realize it since it is all-natural to you. I am grateful for JM’s progress. After three sessions, he can already walk; after the fourth, he started running!” she added.
Next goal: To surf again
What was thought to be a goal of just living a normal life, at most, now became a chase for passion once more. Before attending the program at SFL, to surf again is impossible. He almost faced death, and it’s hard to imagine of what JM went through, and it took more than a miracle to bring him to what he can do now.
JM is still undergoing the rehabilitation program, and there is no definite time as to when he will regain all his motor skills. But, to surf again, as he said, is his current goal.
“I’m not a pro surfer. I just love the ocean. As Filipinos, we’re living in an island nation so, I think it’s important for us to have a relationship with the ocean. I couldn’t find enough words to thank God, as well as all of the people who got involved in giving me my second life. Soon, with the help of SFL, I will be back in the water, riding the waves,” added JM.
Sante Fitness Lab Contact Details
Champion’s Loop, Vermosa Daang Hari, Imus city
+63 917 556 2600
+63 920 920 9747