From gut-wrenching loss to newfound purpose, hear how ski champion Jamie MoCrazy as defied expectations, harnessed her resilience, and embarked on a daring journey to sculpt a triumphant new identity after a traumatic brain injury shattered her skiing career.
As a professional athlete, Jamie MoCrazy has always been known for her astonishing tenacity and resilience. After surviving a near-fatal skiing accident in 2015, she was forced to recalibrate her ambitions. She utilized her competitive drive to fuel her recovery and find new peaks to climb. Jamie's mother, Grace, used her experience with early childhood development to inform the care Jamie received after her injury, creating new protocols for the treatment of patients suffering from TBIs.
Now Jamie shares her story on stages across the country, in a new documentary, and in her own podcast.
In this episode you'll learn:
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Jessica Fein: Welcome. I'm Jessica Fein, and this is the I Don't Know How You Do It podcast, where we talk to people whose lives seem unimaginable from the outside and dive into how they're able to do things that look undoable.
I'm so glad you're joining me on this journey, and I hope you enjoy the conversation. Welcome back to the show. My guest today is champion skier, traumatic brain injury survivor, speaker, nonprofit founder, and filmmaker, Jamie MoCrazy. Now, if you don't know who Jamie is, when you're done listening to this episode, Google her so you can see her skiing.
It is truly miraculous to watch her spin and soar and fly through the sky. Jamie was competing in [00:01:00] Freestyle Skiing's World Tour Finals in Canada in 2015 when disaster struck. A near fatal fall landed Jamie in the hospital in a coma. Nobody expected Jamie to survive. Her fatality report was even written in the helicopter when she was en route to the hospital.
But Jamie did survive, in large part due to the people she considers her heroes, starting with her mother, Grace. Grace put her education in psychology and early childhood brain development to use to develop a systematic process, which they call the MoCrazy Method, that helped Jamie gain perspective about where she was in life, what she wanted to accomplish, and what she needed to do to get there.
It's my huge pleasure to introduce you to Jamie MoCrazy.
Welcome, Jamie. It is so great to meet you in person, having just spent a long time watching you on video and being pretty awed by you, so welcome.
Jamie MoCrazy: Thank [00:02:00] you so much. I'm so excited to be here.
Jessica Fein: I have to tell you, not only am I not a skier, I mean, like, I have been on skis a couple of times in my life, like, bunny slope and, you know, going as slow as humanly possible.
I'm also not an athlete. So watching you, it is amazing to me what a person is capable of. I mean, it's like art and athleticism and courage all mudged into one. It's really pretty incredible.
Jamie MoCrazy: Well thank you very much. It was an awesome chapter of my life. I've competed in my youth in lots of different things.
I've always been very competitive and then I became a professional athlete. And then it's interesting cause now I don't compete in anything anymore. However, I still have that, um, competitive drive and. ambition. But one of the things that is nice is that my husband and I have learned how to compete on the same team.
So we can just collaborate together and still [00:03:00] use that competitive drive because we both have a little bit of competition in us. Mine's very public. Everyone knows I'm very competitive. And he's also competitive. So learning how to collaborate with other people and use that competitive juice to push the mission projects together has helped tremendously in a lot of what I'm doing now.
Jessica Fein: That's awesome. And I want to hear about it. But before we get into what you're doing now, let's go back to what you were doing then. I know you've been skiing since you were a little girl. What drew you to skiing in the first place?
Jamie MoCrazy: So skiing actually comes down through generations of my family. My grandmother, she lived in Sun Valley, Idaho when she was in her young twenties and was a skier.
She was racing. She was the world cup downhill champion. And my great uncle, her brother went to the Olympics twice for ski racing.
Jessica Fein: Oh, it is truly in your genes.
Jamie MoCrazy: Yeah, it was in my genes. And then my mom, as soon as I [00:04:00] learned how to walk, she would take me skiing. And at that time people say, Oh, you had the mindset that you wanted her to get good.
No, like she just wanted to play with her baby outside. So in my family, since we live near ski resorts, taking your baby skiing is completely different than if you're on a holiday and you have to have your babies go get training or whatever. What would happen is you would just go out for like an hour in the afternoon and go to the bunny slopes and I would just be happy and I would be able to dance and wiggle around.
It's just always been a fun activity. So I don't remember any part of my life that the mountains has not been a part of.
Jessica Fein: And so at what point did you start to think this might be more than just a fun afternoon play pastime and something that you wanted to pursue professionally?
Jamie MoCrazy: I have actually pretty much always wanted to pursue something professionally.
I wanted to be a professional athlete. You know, when you ask kids when they're like eight years old, you're like, what do you want to be when you grow up? [00:05:00] I would say I want to be a professional athlete. And at the time I was a ski racer. I was a gymnast and I was a soccer player. And I wasn't positive which of those three sports I wanted to be a professional athlete in, but I always wanted to be a professional athlete.
Jessica Fein: The sport that you ended up pursuing and becoming professional in is skiing, obviously, and it's specifically freestyle skiing. Can you explain to people who might not know what that means?
Jamie MoCrazy: Yeah, it's actually really cool because like I mentioned with being competitive when I was nine years old I won state championships for skiing and the very same year I won state championships for gymnastics and I said I wanted to combine my skiing and gymnastics And I didn't really know how to do that.
There wasn't X Games It wasn't and now it's even Olympic events That didn't exist when I was a little kid. So I had this dream of combining my gymnastics [00:06:00] on snow. And then it actually took until I was about 16 years old to go to the water ramp and understand that girls could do the X games types of activities.
So the slope style, which is multiple jumps and rails. And your judge on an overall impression and then half pipe, which is half of a tube made out of snow and you ski across it and do flips and tricks on either side. I didn't know that I could do that. So when I figured that out, my career started taking off really fast because I had the gymnastics background and I had the skiing background.
So I put it together, and within the first couple years, I was winning Junior Olympics, multiple events, I was winning Junior Worlds, I was making X Games, and it just took off really quickly.
Jessica Fein: How many years were you involved in this at that level?
Jamie MoCrazy: I started competing in slope style and half pipe when I was 16 years old.
I went professional when I was like 20 years old and I had [00:07:00] my accident when I was 22 years old. So it actually was a really condensed career. As far as I was concerned, when I had my accident, I was still at the beginning of my career. I hadn't really pushed it. anywhere close to the levels I wanted to, and I believed that I had the capability to push it to those levels.
But then when I had my traumatic brain injury, it was so critical, and I was so close to death, and I had so much support from individuals worldwide, as well as my family's support. Quite honestly, the thing that winter that really forced That decision to not return to competing, to step away from it was the fact in my mind, I knew that by choosing to push myself and compete again, I would fall again, even at the mild level.
Cause that's how you are a professional athlete. You fall a lot. It just happens. And my brain was so [00:08:00] fragile that if I was putting myself at the risk of dying in front of my mom. It still, like, chokes me up because it was that thought that winter with how much work my family had put into allowing me to come back and especially my mom, all the work she had done to really educationally combine all these different attributes and master's programs that she had into a package for my recovery, I just couldn't put that at risk knowing how likely I was to die if I had another moderate brain injury.
Jessica Fein: Tell us about the accident. What happened that day?
Jamie MoCrazy: So on the accident day, it was actually my little sister Jeannie's first time that she had made it to world tour finals to compete. We were super excited. It was up in Whistler, Canada, and we were living in Park City, Utah. So we drove up, we actually got a sponsored car as well.
So [00:09:00] we were super excited. We drove up to compete. And on that day was the slope style, which is multiple jumps and rails. And I'm the only one who competes in Slope Style. Jeannie was there for Half Pipe. So she was gonna compete in the next day. We both were gonna compete the next day. So, from what I've been told, cause I have no memory of this day at all, we did some training, and I don't really have a memory of the day before either, but I was doing this off axis double trick that I had landed the day before, and on the competition day, on my first run, I was sitting in fourth place.
And fourth place is not on the podium. And you don't really remember the fourth place finisher. So like I said, I'm competitive. And I had to upgrade. I wanted to upgrade. And I knew I was capable to upgrade. Because at the time, I was the only woman who had competed a double flip at X Games or other World Cup stops.
So I knew I had a good chance of getting on the top of the podium if I landed that trick. And so, I was at the top of the [00:10:00] run and I gave my little sister Jeannie a hug and I dropped in for my run and as Jeannie's told me because Jeannie was there she saw me take off and then she couldn't see the landing because of the snow, you know, the mountain, and then she didn't see me hit the next jump.
She didn't really think much of it because in skiing you slide out and you fall a lot, but then she heard the ski patrol radio crackle to life right next to her hanging saying, we need all hands on deck and a helicopter on standby. And instantly, her heart plummeted in her chest, and she knew this was really, really bad.
And she skied down to me with my coach without a word. And she saw me convulsing on the snow, spewing blood, and my eyes were rolled back in my head. What's the next thing you remember? So the next thing I remember is not until six weeks later, I was in the hospital and I had graduated different floors.
So I was actually in in-patient [00:11:00] rehab on the top floor. And that's the first time I have any inkling of memory. And I only remember. the dramatic parts. I vaguely remember stimulators put on my right arm to get it to move again. I kind of remember that, but it is very fragmented memory. And it took a bunch of months for my short term and long term memory to come back.
Because when I was waking up from the coma, we had pictures all around my hospital room and I didn't know who was in the pictures. These were my really good close friends and family. And what I've been told is that I kind of understood who my immediate family was, but I didn't know who any of my friends were.
And so I would have to hear stories of my identity and who I was. And then it's interesting because when I woke up in the hospital, I refused to believe I was in a hospital. The nurse would ask me, are you in a hospital or where are [00:12:00] you? And I would say, I'm in a movie about a hospital. When you poke me with the needles, it doesn't hurt.
So obviously they're not real. It's a movie about a hospital. And they had a really hard time figuring out, how do we tell her it doesn't hurt her because she's paralyzed on that side of her body? With my brain rewiring and my memories coming back and stuff, I legitimately did not know where I was or who I was.
My mom would tell me all these stories of my life and my identity, and I'd be like, wow. Jamie has a really cool life. And she'd be like, well, you're Jamie, that's your life. But then during those first couple months, when my memories did start coming back, they would come back with triggers. So like, if I was listening to a song, I would have a memory come back of another time I had listened to that song.
I would describe it as the movies are playing in my head. The movies are playing in my head because as the memories were coming back, it just felt like I was [00:13:00] watching movies. about my life, but then remembering that it was my life.
Jessica Fein: You said that your mom, from the beginning, played the most pivotal role in your recovery, your ultimate healing, and really in who you grew to be on the other side of all this.
She sounds like such a hero.
Jamie MoCrazy: Yeah, I'd love to talk about her, cause she is. I love my mom a lot, and then talking about her, I would like to talk about her as actually being the professional hero that she was, because she had a master's in psychology. and had previously studied early childhood brain development.
That was what her focus was on. And so, she had studied how to wire your brain as a child. And so, she used that for how to rewire your brain as an adult. Starting when I was in the coma, she would Asked the doctor working in collaboration with the doctors about [00:14:00] adding fish oil to my feeding tube, adding probiotics to my feeding tube, adding things that scientifically have been proven to help brain injury, however, has not gone through the system to be protocol for the hospital, then the caregiver has to ask, it's, it's actually kind of like a crazy situation.
Like, even if the doctors know this is going to be better for the patient, they can't give it to the patient unless asked by a family member. And if the family member doesn't know, and they're not educated, they're not going to ask. And so they're going to be losing out on treatment for the person that they're trying to take care of simply because they don't know what to ask.
And there's no education for family caregivers. You would think, I would think, and I'm really working really hard on our non profit to make this actually happen, when you go to the hospital and you're a family caregiver, they give you education, you watch short videos, even so you just have the basis of an understanding of what power you [00:15:00] have as a family caregiver and how you can actually make decisions that will affect your family member, because most people don't know that.
Jessica Fein: Often the family members feel like, well, I don't really know, and they're the experts, meaning the doctors and the medical staff, and I don't want to be that mom who's trying to, you know, be like, I know more, and I'm not going to suggest anything. So this whole idea of, no, no, no. As the parent or the primary caregiver or the family person, you do have not only the power, but also, it sounds like, to a certain extent, the responsibility.
Jamie MoCrazy: Yes, I understand what you're saying. There's a big difference from being confrontational with a doctor. Like I mentioned, everything my mom did was in collaboration with the doctor. And he's actually the person who was in charge of my neuro team. We call him Miracle MIP. His name's Dr. Mypinder Sekhon. And he's in our documentary that we just produced.
We've stayed in close contact. That just [00:16:00] shows that you need to do it in collaboration and you're not arguing and you're not like, okay, they're doing this, like I'm questioning, but it's the concept and the understanding that you do have the responsibility that if you don't ask them to try these things and they know it's a good idea to try it, they're not going to do it.
Which is kind of mind blowing.
Jessica Fein: It is totally mind blowing, yeah. And so important to be getting this word out and for people to understand, it is okay, speak up. You might not be the one with the degrees on the wall or whatever, but you are the one who knows your person. And you have more of a vested interest than anybody else.
Jamie MoCrazy: Exactly what you said. You're not going to know the medical jargon and that technicality detail. However, you are spending much more time with the individual. Another thing, Dr. Sekhon even says this in our documentary. He was taught that in critical cases, you do not want to stimulate the [00:17:00] brain at all. So touching the patient, talking to the patient, all of that does slightly stimulate the brain.
My mom's also talking about in the documentary how when my mom was walking down the room, my heart rate would pick up. I could tell my mom was coming, and my heart rate I was on all the subs, you could see that I was so excited that she was coming, and it was stimulating my brain very slightly though, and now they know that it's actually good for it.
They've been doing research on your brain in recovery from critical cases. And now it's actually flipped to the point where what happened with my family and what is happening with other people is when you touch them, when you pet your patient, when you talk to your patient, it actually helps them come back from the coma to actually return to life, like return to actually being cognizant and able to talk and come back from the coma.
For me, in my care, my whole family was so involved, like I [00:18:00] mentioned, my older sister actually was an anesthesiologist, doctor, and she became, legally, my primary care physician, at that time, in Vancouver. The family members had to leave when the doctors were making their rounds with the patient. And so, my family put my older sister as my primary care physician.
She had to stay, and she said my mom had to stay. So they both stayed when the doctors made their rounds every time. And now, actually, the protocol at Vancouver General Hospital has changed because of my injury and my recovery. So now, family members have to be present during the rounds, unless they legally sign out.
Like, they have a job that they cannot be there at that time. Otherwise, it's mandatory for them to be present. So that shift in understanding and narrative surrounding family involvement is... What we have been doing since the moments of my case.[00:19:00]
Jessica Fein: It’s amazing to hear, and it's so incredible to think family members weren't allowed to be in the room.
We were in the hospital with my daughter for three months. She turned nine in the hospital and our whole day was centered around rounds. And so the idea that we might not have been able to be present. is so ludicrous. It's just amazing to even think that that was the rule. And then the ingenuity of saying, okay, then your sister's going to be the doctor.
Jamie MoCrazy: Yeah, we were on the edge of breaking rules. However, like I keep mentioning, Dr. Sekhon, he was young for his career still, so he was developing things. And he has said multiple times how much our family involvement changed how he would like to structure his Hospital and, and the more leadership roles he's taking, he's really implementing that and bringing it with him.
And so he's also does professor work [00:20:00] for British Columbia Medical School. And, um, basically we are his story that he talks about for brain injury and family involvement. And so the idea, the concept, the narrative of how can a family be correctly involved and the steps that they can take that will better the doctor's performance, better the trauma center's outcome, and really the person's life.
How to work it all together. And that has led to our nonprofit and what we do for our nonprofit with family work more crazy strong is trying to make that a protocol in every trauma center and have every trauma center understand how to work with their family caregivers and how to give them education.
Brain injury is actually. the leading cause of death and disability by an injury globally. There's 55 million people globally [00:21:00] affected by it, and it's still does not have as much attention as some of our other traumas have because it's invisible. Unless you have a very critical case like mine, when I'm lying in a coma, you can see that I'm lying in the coma.
But if you have other forms of mild traumatic brain injuries, you might still develop permanent disabilities and disabilities that you could change if you actually took care of them. Football has made, has brought it to light a little bit more about CTE and things like that. But that's still like within the past decade has this started to come to light.
And there's so many people that are affected by it. and don't understand and kind of try to push it like they'll be like, well, brain injury is not a disability because it's not necessarily a permanent disability and you can heal and recover. So it's not like if you have spinal cord damage and you have reached the point that you're not ever going to be able to walk again, but a brain [00:22:00] injury.
does make some changes in your brain, and I do feel like, for me, my life now, my brain is performing really well, and I'm very comfortable with my brain's performance, but there's this whole issue with brain injury that people try to push down their deficits and ignore them instead of actually taking care of them because they feel guilty that they have this invisible challenge.
They're like, why do I feel so depressed when I don't really have anything wrong with my like, why shouldn't be depressed because a huge deficit is emotional instability. And it's all invisible, you can't see it. It's not like you're sitting in a wheelchair. So people say they try to push that disability to the ground.
So it needs more of a voice and more of a light on it. So people can feel comfortable with saying I had a critical brain injury.
Jessica Fein: What's so interesting is that you talk about the physical things that are visible and also the [00:23:00] emotional. And when you're talking about the brain, I imagine it's intertwined, right?
The physical challenge and then how that manifests emotionally, which P. S. there are emotional implications no matter what part of your body gets injured. But you've said that the emotional challenges you faced during recovery were maybe even more profound than the physical challenges.
Jamie MoCrazy: Yes, for me, since I had been an athlete my whole life, I had torn ligaments and had physical challenges before that I had to overcome.
So I had, for example, had ACL surgery, you have weeks of not being able to get out of bed and then you have to go through the rehabilitation process and then you get back. So I kind of understood how to set attainable goals to reach my growth goals and push myself To have my physical recovery, what was way harder for me was the emotional and cognitive.
Both of those took multiple years to actually get back. And what I mean by [00:24:00] the emotional is like you pointed out, you can have emotional challenges for a vast variety of things. However, for a brain injury, what they are realizing and doing more studies on is that the emotional challenges are actually the opposite.
of some of the other depression challenges. Your mind is over-firing. So one, your brain, your emotions are located in your head. So it has a physical trauma to it and a change in your brain pathways, which actually will change your feeling of confidence and depression. So it has a physical change in your brain and Your life has changed.
You can rebuild a great life after a brain injury, but it will have changed aspects of it. So those are the two things that you have to deal with. But one of the things is that with a lot of psychotherapy, they're trying to stimulate parts of your brain to wake it up, to help with your depression. And with brain injury patients, you actually want [00:25:00] to do the exact opposite.
A lot of their depression comes from an overstimulation and excessive wiring of their brain when it's coming back to life, so calming down. Both of them have similar ways that you can help, like with meditation and things like that, but it's really important with brain injury that you're calming your mind down during your recovery process as well.
Jessica Fein: You have the emotional implication as well that once you begin to understand what your life was, that it's not a movie, that this was actually your life, that you have to create a new identity. Because really, you said, from the time you were walking, you were skiing, you didn't remember a time in your life when you weren't skiing, and now you have to not only confront all of the different kinds of healing, but also looking at your identity.
Jamie MoCrazy: Yeah. That was the hardest emotional part was that when I was 23 years old, I felt really old [00:26:00] and washed up and I, I had had this career taken away from me. I skied year round before my accident. My friends were the other competitive athletes, and I didn't know what I was going to do. I didn't have dreams.
I didn't have goals. I didn't have anything I wanted to work towards. I was really struggling with rebuilding my identity. And one of the things that really helped with that is finding different ways for getting help. I started going to therapy and that. Helped. And my mom actually, like I mentioned, had a master's in psychology and she knew she couldn't be my therapist.
I needed to go to an external therapist. So that's one of the things that helped a lot. And another thing is finding something to set goals and someone to look at your performance and care about what you do. And so for me, I went back to university. I went to Westminster [00:27:00] University. in Salt Lake City, Utah, and I had teachers grade me and judge my performance.
I had classes I had to attend. I had a structure to life again. And sometimes on finals week, I'm like, why did I really want to come here to get graded? I did get good grades though, actually one of my proudest moments was that first fall I got all A's and it meant a lot to me to be able to go back and not even just go back but I had no disability help and be able to perform again so I really promote that for everybody.
Your life is going to be different, and maybe it's going to a book club, maybe it's joining a pilates class, just something that can give you structure and can help you rebuild your identity, because I always say I was Jamie and now I'm Jamie 2.0, and it truly is rebuilding your identity into [00:28:00] somebody you want to be.
Jessica Fein: So how is Jamie 2. 0 different from Jamie?
Jamie MoCrazy: I have a lot of similarities in the sense of a lot of my innate characteristics and passions are the same. However, while I was building Jamie 2. 0, one of the things that's different is I did so much therapy. different forms, like occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy for my brain injury recovery.
And they really work on executive function. And so I really worked on organizational skills and putting everything on my calendar and reminders and structuring my life and before my brain injury, potentially, because I was a professional. young adult skier but I was a space cadet and it's actually kind of funny because during my brain injury they had a intracranial monitoring device where they inserted it from my skull and it tested out your pressure and your [00:29:00] oxygen and I actually was one of the first people in North America to use an intracranial monitoring system that tests out your oxygen and your pressure.
So that's all big, big words, but with my pressure it could tell that my brain was swollen. However, I had extra space in my head so they didn't have to remove part of my skull, which means that I am a medically certified airhead. But I became actually less of an airhead and my executive function was better after my brain injury.
I became able to organize things better after my brain injury.
Jessica Fein: You wrote that when you survived, it was in large part due to your many heroes, and I know your mom is a hero to you. Who are some of the other heroes?
Jamie MoCrazy: Miracle MIP, Dr. Sekhon, who I mentioned, I love how open minded he was and how intelligent he was.
He's actually the one who went to Cambridge, England to learn [00:30:00] about my intracranial monitoring device, which we call the Brain Bolt. And I was the first person at the hospital to use the Brain Bolt. And now their success rate has improved by over 33% in critical coma cases. And then my older sister, Amy Crane Sledisky, for using her training and what she could do for backing, for helping save my life.
And then my little sister, Jeannie, she was 19 at her first World Tour Finals and immediately was having to take care of her older sister, who had been her leader before. We're in the process of working to publish a book on the MoCrazy story. And it's actually written in a narrative format from Jeannie's point of view.
So you get involved with this goofy, adventurous Jamie and her sister, and you keep having flashbacks of us growing up and then coming back to the present where Jeannie thinks that when she arrives in the hospital, I'll already be [00:31:00] dead. And then my recovery process and how Jean played a pivotal role throughout the whole journey.
Jessica Fein: While we're talking about your sister, she was at her first big race that day. Did she continue skiing?
Jamie MoCrazy: Yes, so she was at her first world tour finals. She had been competing for years, but this was like kind of her stepping into the professional scene and she did continue. And that's part of the story is a coming of age novel about family, love, resilience and believing in.
Miraculous opportunities, because you go into her emotions of after my accident, the first competition she tried to do again, she just kept having these flashbacks of me on the snow and spewing blood. And so how did she learn how to take something that was a love for both of us skiing, both were so passionate about it.
And it changed both of our lives dramatically and was so close to taking away my life. How could she [00:32:00] learn to love it again when she's actually still currently competing on the world cup circuit? It's pretty exciting.
Jessica Fein: One of the things that you now do is you speak in these broad stages and you advocate and you have figured out how to take this very specific thing that happened to you and make it relatable and inspiring for people, whatever their situation is.
What are some of those lessons that you learned that are applicable regardless of a person's unique situation?
Jamie MoCrazy: Well, regardless of someone's unique situation, most people have encountered some type of struggle or trauma in their life. I think that's one of the reasons why the Mo Crazy Strong story is so relatable, because there's so many different aspects that you can bring into your personal situation.
And so, how you overcome struggles is a lot of what I talk about. How do you build resilience? How do you surround yourself with the [00:33:00] people who better your life? And then how do you set attainable goals to reach your growth goals? One of the big things is be your own personal best. That is a mantra that I was raised with.
My mom had a federal grant from the government to teach self esteem to women. And that's what I grew up with, with the concept that she drilled into me, that I could be my own personal best. Which, before my brain injury, I kind of understood to be the best, and how I could break boundaries and become the first woman in the world to double flip at X Games.
And how that was possible if I put in the work, and I set the goals. Because it was my own personal best. And then after my brain injury, I understood at even a deeper level what that meant. My own personal best had changed dramatically. It was no longer breaking boundaries. It took me over a week after my feeding tube was taken off to learn how to [00:34:00] swallow one sip of water.
That was how my own personal best had changed. However, I understood that if I still continued to perform at my own personal best, I could climb an alternative peak. I actually could create a life I wanted to be living, and I could have recovery. If I performed at my own personal best. It would be so easy when people encounter challenges, trauma, struggles in their life to blame their problem for everything that's happening to them.
It would have been so easy for me to be like, okay, I can't walk up like two stairs by myself. I'm never going to ski again. Instead of in my mind, I was like, I want to ski again. That's my growth goal is to return to the mountains. So my attainable goals are to walk up the stairs. Every day, keep walking more.
And I was walking with a gait belt. So that means I had to have somebody hold my gait belt and walk with me. Every day, we would build those habits. We would just keep pushing for what we could do with our little [00:35:00] goals to reach our growth goals. And that concept is so relatable to everybody because that's how you accomplish anything.
You have the dream. You have the vision. You know where you want to go. But it's so far away from where you're at, you have to be able to build the habits and take those steps and just keep going and keep working on it to start reaching that growth goal. Besides my injury, in addition to that, how that has affected me, this documentary, we wanted to create a documentary about as soon as I was coming back from my brain injury.
And so that was eight years ago, and it took until this. February at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival for us to have our global premiere of our short documentary. Lots of steps, lots of time, lots of recovery, lots that goes into it. But if we didn't have that goal and we didn't start taking the steps to reach that goal, we never would have been able to have the documentary that [00:36:00] now is an award winning documentary that we've gotten into eight film festivals and we're still doing the film festival run and it's going to go public.
All that would not have happened if we hadn't taken the steps and walked the path towards that goal.
Jessica Fein: Well, how do you stay motivated though? Because if your growth goal is, you know, up here and it's going to be seven years later when the film comes out or when you get back on skis and all the steps it takes day after day, literally in your case, and figuratively to reach that goal, there must be days when you wake up and you're like, I'm just, I cannot.
What do you do? How do you keep that motivation?
Jamie MoCrazy: Yeah, there's definitely days that that happens. And there's days when I cry. I'm getting a little more stable with it. I will always cry. I'm an emotional person. But one of the things that I've learned to do, and a lot of this actually was taught by my mom, it's okay to be upset.
We're humans. We're always going to be upset. All of us are going to have days that we feel [00:37:00] overwhelmed. So don't feel guilty about feeling upset. It's okay. And when you feel upset, go all the way into that feeling of upset. Go watch a romantic comedy, go make some tea, eat some ice cream, go do something, go walk your dog.
Let yourself feel upset. Do something that makes you feel better, and then don't stay upset. Grow. Move. Cause that's one of the big things, is when you prolong day in, day out, feeling upset. If that's happening, which has happened to me in my brain injury, and happened again when the older sister I talked about, she passed away from cancer in March of 2022, and I was getting married in May.
And that was an amazing experience. And then last summer when I came home, I broke down. I was every day crying, and I'm really struggling. And so we realized that I needed [00:38:00] help again. I needed to go back to therapy. I needed to take action. So it's okay if you're having like, A day. Like I still have a day or like a period of a day when you're feeling upset.
Let yourself feel upset but then if it's prolonged, get help. Talk to somebody. Bring it up to somebody. Somehow get help because you need it and it's okay to need it.
Jessica Fein: What does it mean to be MoCrazy Strong?
Jamie MoCrazy: MoCrazy had been my nickname my whole life because my birth last name was Crane Mozy and the Mozy is French and I've always been an adventurous I'm a little go getter. And so my mom started calling me her little Mo Crazy when I was a baby. And then when I started competing, the announcers would say, Jamie Crane Mosey, the Mo Crazy is now on course.
And then at the time of my accident, the critical coma, my sister Jeannie, she [00:39:00] started the hashtag. I actually have it on my wrist. Now it's a tattoo. But she started the hashtag MoCrazyStrong. Because MoCrazy was going to become strong again. And so she started that hashtag to bring together my supporters internationally so they could all stay updated on how I was doing.
She made little wristbands that were magenta that said hashtag MoCrazy Strong that she would give out to everybody who came to visit me. We were contacted to give advice on ways to understand the narrative of brain injury recovery and how to take steps and where to go and what to do and how to reach out to other people and, you know, just to understand a little bit more about it, give a roadmap.
And then we actually took that roadmap to a professional level by creating the non profit MoCrazy Strong. And what MoCrazy Strong means is to think creatively, to think outside of the box. MoCrazy is like More [00:40:00] Crazy, but with a little bit of a twist, like a calculated, smart version of crazy. With the word crazy, you can sometimes think about doing things that are bad for you or bad for other people that are crazy.
It's not that. It's doing things that are more crazy, that are good for you, good for other people. Thinking outside the box. Breaking expectations. Breaking stereotypes. All of that is mo crazy. And then MoCrazy Strong means that you can be strong and you can accomplish all those crazy feats. Society might not think of what you're doing as being MoCrazy, but maybe being MoCrazy is actually standing up for yourself, all those things that are actually bettering your life and thinking outside the box and breaking boundaries is MoCrazy Strong.
Jessica Fein: And what is the next MoCrazy thing that you're going to do?
Jamie MoCrazy: What we're working on right now, like I mentioned, we are talking to publishing companies about publishing the MoCrazy Strong Story. [00:41:00] So that's one of our next big pushes that we're doing. And I'm still speaking. So something I have right now coming up, I'm speaking at the Brain Injury Association of America's conference, and I'm going to be talking about Changing the narrative of a brain injury, climbing an alternative peak and rebuilding your identity.
I'm the closing keynote for that. So those are some concrete things I have coming up. And then we're looking in March to have our documentary go public on a public platform. We are going to be having an alive to thrive day at Snowbird Mountain, and we're going to be skiing during the day. And we're going to have some adaptive programs that are in contact with us.
Everybody can ski and then we're going to screen the documentary and then we're going to have some music and some drinks and have a fun time. So those are some things.
Jessica Fein: I'm going to book my flight now because that sounds amazing. And I don't know if I would be actually brave enough to get on the skis, but I can certainly listen to the music and watch the movie [00:42:00] and have the drinks and the fun.
I think that everybody listening to this is going to feel like they're going to go off and figure out something to do that feels a little MoCrazy to them and that gets them thinking outside of the box and pushing themselves to be their own personal best. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today.
Jamie MoCrazy: Thank you so much for having me. I had so much fun. I always get so excited when I have the opportunity to talk to people who are awesome like you.
Jessica Fein: Oh thank you so much. Here are my takeaways from my conversation with Jamie. Number one, don't be afraid to speak up on behalf of a person you love. You might not have technical expertise, but you have the expertise in your person.
Number two. Be your own personal best. Number three, when you have your dream, break it into manageable goals. Number four, it's okay to be upset. Lean into the suck. But if you can't get yourself out of it, consider asking for help. And number five, try being mo crazy strong, whatever that might mean to you.
Do things that are good for [00:43:00] you, good for other people. Think outside the box and defy expectations.
If you want to find out more about the guests on the show, get book recommendations, and follow along with my own book writing journey, subscribe to my newsletter at jessicafeinstories.com. That's jessicafeinstories.com. Have a great day. Talk to you next time.