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Remarkable Recovery for North Andover Athlete

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. (AP) — Steve Seide, a triathlete from North Andover and a member of the local TriFury club, considers himself a lucky guy.

‘‘I've had a lot go right and I'm just really thankful for everyone who has been so supportive,’’ said Seide. ‘‘I have no regrets about anything.’’

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Others would say that Seide is not so lucky, at least not last year.

A year ago in June, while on a bicycle training ride in North Andover near the Boxford line, Seide was hit by a car.

Among other injuries, Seide suffered broken ribs, a broken clavicle, a serious neck injury, some deep hand wounds and, most serious of all, a small blood clot in his head that affected his memory. He lost his sense of taste and smell permanently.

It was so bad that Seide didn’t recognize his wife and daughter for days.

‘‘I have no knowledge of anything that happened,’’ said the 60-year-old Seide. ‘‘I remember leaving (on the ride) with the group and then I find I'm in the hospital with brain trauma.’’

Seide didn’t start recognizing people for about a week. Once he came home from the hospital, he could do little more than walk slowly. Among other things, he had limitations with his neck, back and legs.

For an active guy who grew up as a hockey player in Minnesota and has run the Boston Marathon 13 straight years, inactivity is far from desirable. He wasn’t allowed to start running until November. ‘‘It was a slow process,’’ said Seide. ‘‘I had to take a few steps at a time to start with.’’

But triathletes are the determined type. By very gradually increasing his distance, Seide was able to train for and run in his 13th straight Boston Marathon in April, finishing in an excellent 3:12.

Getting back to triathlon competition wasn’t as ‘‘easy.’’

Seide started riding a stationary bike in his basement, slowly, but surely, but it was tough to get in the proper racing position and he wasn’t able to ride outside on a traditional bike until late April.

Swimming was even tougher because the movement of the head back and forth was too painful and not really possible.

But again, triathletes are generally not to be denied and Seide eventually was able to get some swimming in, enough so that he competed June 14 in the Patriot Half Ironman (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run) near New Bedford.

And, while he'll tell you that he’s far from all the way back, Seide had a remarkable performance, winning his age group and finishing 193rd overall among more than 1,100 finishers with a time of 5:36.28.

While Seide’s bike time (4:12) was a bit off, he had a respectable 2:28 time in the swim and he finished off the grueling event with a fine 1:53 for the half-marathon distance.

And he’s not stopping there. He'll be competing in the Massachusetts State Triathlon and the Mill City Triathlon this month and then set his sights on the September Pumpkin Man Triathlon in Maine, which is the same one he was training for when he had the accident.

It’s been a remarkable recovery and one probably facilitated — as most doctors would agree — by the excellent condition he was in at the time.

‘‘I know that helped,’’ said Seide. ‘‘The biking, the running and the other things probably made it easier. I'm comfortable saying that I've exceeded what anyone expected.

‘‘But it’s not all about me and if I have any success, it’s more about all the support and help I've gotten from people with my recovery, my family, the others at TriFury. I couldn’t have done it without them.

‘‘I'm still working through some issues emotionally and physically, but I have no complaints. That I'm back in it (triathlons) is a blessing.’’

To others, however, it’s truly remarkable.

‘‘Steve is one of the most toughest, focused athletes,’’ said TriFury teammate Tom Kinneman. ‘‘It was amazing to see his determination and the speed of his recovery after the accident.

‘‘I have trained and raced with Steve for several years and have learned to never count him out. I have watched him come back from injuries and setbacks only to get stronger.

‘‘And Boston 2014 proved that in spades — faster than in 2013 and only a few minutes off his personal best ... from a guy who wasn’t allowed to run until November.’’

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