Six years after a devastating car accident left him on the brink of life support shutdown, Marlon Laight is on the verge of becoming a personal trainer.

Marlon Laight knows better than most how life can turn upside down in an instant. In April 2018, while reaching for an e-cigarette, he lost control of his car and crashed, resulting in severe brain injuries and partial blindness. He was in a coma for eight weeks, and part of his skull had to be removed due to brain swelling.

The accident nearly took Marlon’s life, but a quick-thinking hero saved him by clearing his airway. Despite grim prospects, Marlon’s mother, Helen, found hope when he moved his finger a day after doctors prepared her for the worst.

After eight months in the hospital, Marlon lived with his mother and carers for a year before regaining enough mobility to return home. His recovery included three intensive sessions a week at a rehabilitation centre in Leeds, where he relearned to walk and improved his coordination and visual awareness.

“I was in hospital for eight months,” he tells Men’s Fitness, “then went to live with my mother for a year with the help of carers until I was mobile enough to be able to live back at my own home.

Putting the work in after eight months in hospital

“The neurological hospital told us that it was unlikely that I would ever walk again and would need care for the rest of my life. With this, my mother made the decision to discharge me from the neurological hospital and care for me at home with the aid of local carers.”

From first steps to first place

With determination, Marlon made remarkable progress. Within five months, he was taking his first steps. After seven months, Marlon started visiting his local gym. There, he began using heavier weights and learning functional skills. Weekly weigh-ins and body composition printouts motivated him to reduce his fat percentage and increase his muscle mass.

“The results were showing, and I began loving exercise,” he says. “The staff at the rehab center had built the foundations for my recovery by teaching me the basics of movement and coordination. My physio taught me how to control my tremor using my mind, allowing me to finally drink coffee in public without spilling it everywhere.

“As time went by, I learned a lot about weight training. I started going to a friend’s gym and met some bodybuilders. It was there I met Lee, a PT who began training me three times a week, teaching me various functional skills for better balance and stability. Lee agreed to coach me for a bodybuilding competition, which involved 16 weeks of strict eating and training.

“In May 2022, I entered the disabled bodybuilding class at a competition in Coventry and won first place.”

Since then, Marlon has continued going to the gym six days a week and still has personal training sessions twice a week, including one day dedicated to more advanced functional skills.

His next goal is to become a qualified personal trainer through The Fitness Group.

“Because I am blind to the left side, things are so much harder to master,” he says, “and I need to gain confidence to do things that people take for granted. I also learn new training techniques – especially as my left side has not quite got the strength of my right – so I keep setting myself new targets to break and continue to gain strength through training.”

Marlon’s journey hasn’t been easy, but his perseverance and commitment to fitness have been crucial. He advises others facing similar challenges to stay positive and set small, achievable goals.

“Giving up should never be an option,” he insists, “and never use the words ‘I CAN’T’, because saying that means you are putting a limitation on yourself. That way, what seems impossible becomes possible. You will eventually overcome the barriers stopping you and succeed in what you are doing before moving onto your next goal.

“It has taken me six years to recover to this point. I am constantly setting myself new challenges and achieving them all the time. Don’t be tempted to set yourself unrealistic goals; everything is achievable eventually, and it is definitely worthwhile. I’m looking forward to the future, having a successful career in the fitness industry.”

Six years after his accident, Marlon is lifting serious weights

Now 32, Marlon is focused on building a successful career in the fitness industry, sharing his experience, and helping others lead healthy, fulfilling lives.

“I now have a new goal, which is to get back into work, focusing on a new kind of career. I know I will never be able to go back to my old job as a Compex Electrician, but getting employment in the fitness industry as a PT will be something I will enjoy doing as I love keeping fit and leading a healthy lifestyle. It has helped me get my life back on track and seems the perfect solution to get into employment again.”

Marlon’s story is a testament to the power of resilience and determination. From relearning to walk to winning a bodybuilding competition, his journey is an inspiration to anyone facing adversity.