Braulio Estima temporarily paralysed in training accident


On June 3rd, 2010, the 2009 double gold ADCC champion, Braulio Estima, was paralyzed from the neck down after a training accident. In a recent TapouT Radio interview, the world champion took some time to discuss his life since the incident, and shared the inspirational story of his journey back to the winners circle.

“It was the worst ever sensation I ever had in all of my entire life, including my personal life or any kind of situation I’ve been through. When I fell on my neck, I was actually training. It was an accident. I went for a single leg, and I slipped on the mat and the guy went to do some movement that also wasn’t the best, and I ended up falling on my neck. I got completely paralyzed from the neck down, and for that few minutes it was like the worst feeling. It feels like you are taken out of your body and you can see your body from far away.”

“The first thing that came into my mind was that I wouldn’t be able to pick up my son, and this was very frustrating. After a few minutes, I felt this tingling in my toes, and I could feel it coming up in my legs, but my arms took a while to feel proper.  It was very tough for me, the first thing I heard from the Doctors was that I wouldn’t be able to do any sport at all, especially contact sports. If I wanted to do any sports, I could be good in darts, you know?”

“I always had a very positive feeling, in terms of determination, to be able to achieve, and to overcome this injury.  I started doing some research into different doctors and different techniques.  I found this doctor, Peter Hamlyn of Princess Grace Hospital,  and he had this technique that would be able to allow me to keep my flexibility in my neck, because that’s the worry I was having.  I had two prolapsed discs in my neck ... my spinal cord looked like a ‘Z’ , like a zig-zag thing. Because it was touching on the discs, anything could happen where I could be paralyzed for life, or even die. 

"I went to the normal hospitals and when they said I had to have plates that would be screwed on each vertebrae, which meant that I would lose flexibility ... I was really worried about that, and that’s why I did the research and I found this technique where they substitute the discs and put in a titanium disc that also fuses and has the flexibility at the same time.  It was a lucky find, and after I did the surgery, I could already move my neck, three days after.”

“The training after that, it was pretty scary in the beginning, because you are very cautious about your neck. You don’t want to overreact on anything ... You start to get confidence through therapy, strength and conditioning and using a lot of strength to compensate for the power in the neck, until I was fully recovered.”

“In the two months of training prior to ADCC, I was able to fully use my neck.  Now I can do anything with my neck. I still have some side effects, some feelings in my hand and some tingling on my left leg when I put it under pressure, but in terms of strength and power control, I’m as good as before.”

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Recent Comments »

Kevin bacon site profile image  

11/2/11 5:52 PM by Kevin bacon


Calhoon site profile image  

11/1/11 4:04 PM by Calhoon

That accident is hard to watch for me. It makes it easier knowing that he comes out of it ok though. It is a great video though. Thanks for sharing.Braulio is an awesome guy. His enthusiasm for life is contagious.

ColdKiller X site profile image  

11/1/11 3:48 PM by ColdKiller X

that sounds horrible. I have always thought about that happening while rolling...

TSMontana site profile image  

11/1/11 3:33 PM by TSMontana

Neck injuries are the one injury I truly fear on the mat (with back injuries a distant second).

bhealthy site profile image  

11/1/11 3:27 PM by bhealthy

get real dude, if you have been wrestling i KNOW you have seen neck injuries. Even if your mates do more neck bridges than Matt Furhey. And you know the butt floppers have been doing neck bridges for years. I think you are just playin with kids here

Crooklyn site profile image  

11/1/11 3:16 PM by Crooklyn


Musashi site profile image  

11/1/11 1:29 PM by Musashi

the fuck is wrong with you?

spidermanik site profile image  

11/1/11 1:28 PM by spidermanik

You can actually see footage of the injury in this excellent video by Grapple Videos highly recommend the entire series. If a blue would be so kind :)

WRESTLENOW site profile image  

11/1/11 12:26 PM by WRESTLENOW

this is what happens when people who can't wrestle start messing around with takedowns, he needs to start doing neck bridges and taking real wrestling sessions with good guys, not this bjj butt-flopping stuff.

jushintiger site profile image  

11/1/11 11:47 AM by jushintiger

Glad that he recovered. Now that being said, did he have an out of body experience too?