A Rider University diver now beats everyone else after he beat his death

A Rider University diver now beats everyone else after he beat his death ...

Standing above the podium is a huge accomplishment for any athlete, but freshman diver Sean Binning had to reconsider how to walk, eat, talk, and even breathe just to be there.

Binning, who earned MAAC Diver and MAAC Rookie Diver of the Year accolades, led the Broncs to a 10th consecutive championship and won the men's 1-meter dive this past season.

Three years ago, he didn't know if he would live.

Binning returned home from school and had a severe headache. He'd never felt a migraine before, so took some ibuprofen before diving practice.

For the worse, things took a turn.

When Binning was 15, his mother couldn't understand what he was saying and called 911. The left side of his body was numb. Symptoms were similar to that of a stroke, but a CT scan showed a ruptured arteriovenous malformation (AVM), which was still bleeding. He was rushed to emergency brain surgery.

In the moment, we didn't know what was going on much more than he did, said Sean's father Patrick Binning. But as we learned about what he was going through, my wife and I met them in the waiting room, explaining what they were going to do to save Sean. I will never forget being in the room and signing that paperwork agreeing to that surgery, failing to understand what the outcome would be. It was a pretty harrowing experience.

The surgeon removed the left side of his skull to relieve pressure from the AVM. Binning spent the next 18 days in the neuro hospital in a sedated coma. He received a second surgery nearly two months later to remove the AVM and to replace his removed portion of his skull.

Sometimes they would wake me up to see how I am doing, but I don't really remember some of this stuff, because I thought all of this was a dream, he said. When I began to wake up and understand what was going on, I was like, what happened? I didn't know what happened.

Sean Binning, a freshman at Rider University, spent 18 days in the neuro ICU in a sad coma following emergency brain surgery for a ruptured arteriovenous malformation in 2019.

Sean Binning, a freshman in Rider University, spent 18 days in the neuro ICU in a severed coma following an emergency brain surgery for a ruptured arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in 2019. He received a second surgery two months later to remove the AVM and to replace the removed portion of his skull.

He had to learn how to speak, how to eat, and how to breathe. He lost 40 pounds and had a second operation nearly two months later to remove the AVM and to replace the removed part of his skull.

Eleven years later, he was contemplating diving.

Three days before signing with Rider, Sean had his last surgery, a cranioplasty, to replace his skull with a 3D printed implant.

"I had to show myself to be a Division I athlete at Rider," he said. "I won MAAC and it's just unbelievable, but they took a risk with me and I had to prove it."

When their son made the decision to keep diving, the Bears had no concerns. Not after everything they'd been through. After 25 hours of training, he was constantly struggling with numbness and paralysis in his right arm.

I believe that when he came back, what might he do? Patrick said. During a presentation, he said, Wed never gone through something like this. The doctors and nurses knew that there was going to be a rehabilitation phase, but you'd be able to do it.

That was a really sad time seeing him wake up from this and begin to recover. Once he had left the hospital and had his surgery, to return to diving was something we fully supported. You are fully healed. Go back, no problem, and enjoy a healthy life as a result of this.

On September 5, 2019, he began diving headfirst again.

"It was just awkward, head first for the first time, but I began getting used to it, then the pain fades. It hurts either way after brain surgery, but with time it improves."

Sean's victory for the MAAC championship was an emotional moment for everyone after all the frightening moments and exhausting hours of rehabilitation.

Its quite amazing to see what he has been able to do, Patrick said. He has been so passionate about diving and its become part of who he is. To have him be able to return and compete so well was just a lot of fun throughout the whole year.

Sean Binning, a freshman diver at Rider University, is the subject of a series of tests.

Despite having never met anyone with a similar story to his, he's hoping he may inspire others with difficult times.

He's a living proof of what's possible.

"What has already happened is the hardest part," Sean said. "Once you leave the hospital and what has happened, push through it. Keep the rewards in mind. It's 100% worth it at the end. If you go that far, you should be proud of yourself."

His profound experiences include behavioral neuroscience.

I believe it is fascinating now, he said. All this stuff that happened, I mean, I think it is just so interesting now how I might return from this. [...] I think it is so cool how this is possible to do.

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Joey Chandler may be reached at the address.

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