Training with bodybuilding guru Larry Wheels would excite any young bodybuilding prospect. Ryan Crowley, an amateur with immense potential, had that rare opportunity, but it ended in disaster after he tore his right pec muscle following a bench press accident. A video shared by Larry demonstrated in graphic detail Ryan’s pec muscle tearing from his arm and forming a lump on his chest.
The tear, coupled with Ryan’s painful wail, is enough to send chills down anyone’s spine, regardless of whether you understand the severity of the injury.
This piece will look at Ryan Crowley’s road to recovery, his family and girlfriend, and his career prospects.
Ryan’s surgery on his right pec left him in pain and severely bruised, but he is happy to have completed the first stage of recovery
After the tear happened, it was essential to get Ryan into surgery as soon as possible. To guarantee that Ryan got the best possible care, Larry launched a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for Ryan’s surgery. Ryan’s insurance couldn’t cover the surgery because the injury happened outside his native England.
The campaign raised over $38K, more than enough for Ryan’s surgery. The surgery was a success, but it’s only the first step in Ryan’s long road to recovery. Ryan wrote on Instagram that the surgery took longer than usual as the surgeon had to reconstruct his pec. He explained:
“It [the surgery] took longer than expected because Dr. Shine had to completely reconstruct my pec as I tore the tendon off the bone and then the muscle off the tendon. Dr. also had some issues reattaching the tendon due to my bones being so dense, my bones broke the tools used to reattach the tendon.”
Ryan shared gruesome post-surgery photos that revealed severe swelling and bruising on the left side of his body. The bruising and swelling were expected, but they nevertheless shocked Ryan and his over 140K Instagram followers. Ryan wrote:
“As you can see from the photos, I’m extremely bruised and extremely swollen. I’ve got, like a belly now. There’s so much fluid retention down my hips, my stomach, everywhere. My bicep’s like twice the size. Absolutely terrible bruising can’t believe it. My whole body is extremely swollen now too. I’m still in a huge amount of pain and still in hospital.”
Ryan has since left the hospital and is pursuing the next stage of recovery.
Ryan’s parents didn’t make it to his hospital bed, but his girlfriend was there for him through it all
On 25th March 2021, Ryan shared that he’d left the hospital and headed for the hotel. He shared that he is still in pain, and the swelling is yet to go down, but he is trying as much as possible to stay positive. Ryan then went on to thank everyone who’d supported him as he started his recovery.
He thanked the doctors for reattaching his muscle and making it look ‘as good as cosmetically possible.’ Crowley also thanked everyone who donated to the surgery. “You guys don’t understand how grateful I am, and I physically cannot express this in words,” he wrote. Ryan’s revealed that his parents couldn’t make it to Dubai, but his girlfriend was there for him throughout. He wrote:
“The biggest Thank you in the word to my little Meggie for being by my side 247 since this happened and hasn’t left my sight since, from helping me move to feeding me and keeping me calm. She is an absolute star and I need her forever by my side. Unfortunately, my amazing parents couldn’t be my side physically but 247 on FaceTime is close enough.”
Ryan’s Instagram page mostly contains body-building photos, but he also occasionally posts his loved ones. On 2nd February 2021, he shared a photo of himself standing next to his girlfriend on Burj Khalifa alongside a romantic caption which read in part: “Some books never really close and no matter how far away they go they always make the way back and those are meant to be in your life.”
A week later, he wished his mom, Sandra Crowley, a happy birthday via Instagram. In the caption, Ryan showered praised on Sandra, describing her as the ‘greatest person on this planet.’ He added:
“I love you so much. Thank you for being you and giving me everything you have and being the best mom anyone could ever be. I wish I was with you right now. I miss you a lot! The food here in Dubai is bad and yours is way better!”
Ryan feared that the pec tear had prematurely ended his promising bodybuilding career
The physical pain caused by Ryan’s pec tear was excruciating, but it couldn’t compare to the mental agony he experienced upon realizing that the injury could have ruined his promising building career. “Praying that it gets its shape back and doesn’t ruin the rest of my career in body building before it’s even started,” Crowley wrote on Instagram.
Ryan’s potential is undoubted, with Larry Wheels himself admitting that Ryan ‘has tremendous potential in bodybuilding!’ Crowley has narrowly fallen short of getting his pro card on several occasions. Earning a pro card aged 23 would have been a massive achievement, but the injury has ruined any hope of that happening soon.
Ryan stated in an Instagram Live Q&A that he expects to lose muscle with lack of exercise, but he expects to grow it back as soon as he recovers mobility. He plans to resume training as soon as possible to ensure that the rest of his body remains fit. He said:
“At some point I will go back in there and do some light leg work etcetera to keep me mentally stable and keep my body moving but I need to focus on the rehab of my pec as priority.”
Crowley hopes that he can rebuild his pec and that it can retain the shape it had before. Bodybuilding, as a sport, places a high premium on aesthetics. Hopefully, Ryan’s peck will maintain the same shape so he can realize the massive potential he holds.