Jonathan Koch, a former wrestler with a 21-7 varsity record at State College Area High School in State College, Pennsylvania, has an incredible story of resilience.
Koch worked as a television producer and co-founded Asylum Entertainment which sold to Legendary Entertainment in 2014.
In 2015 his life took an unexpected turn when he fell seriously ill during a producers conference in Washington, D.C.
To save his life, doctors had to place Koch into a coma. After several harrowing weeks, he miraculously woke up with his mind and spirit intact.
However, he learned that he had survived septic shock, which had severely compromised his body. As a result, he had lost all or part of all four limbs, including his right leg and left hand.
Even in the face of such devastating circumstances, Koch refused to succumb to despair. Rather than accepting a grim prognosis, he made a vow to not only survive but to thrive for the sake of his teenaged daughter and new wife, Jennifer.
Despite being told that his chances of survival were slim, Koch defied the odds. His doctors were astounded by his resilience and determination to live.
One doctor, in particular, admitted that Koch had changed her perspective on being a doctor and what could be achieved when patients were willing to fight back. When asked how he survived against unimaginable odds by a doctor at GW hospital, a depleted Koch whispered the powerful truth, “I’m a wrestler.”
Over the next 18 months, Koch underwent numerous painful surgeries, prosthetic fittings, and endured intensive rehabilitation.
Despite the challenges he faced, he consistently surpassed his doctors' expectations.
Recognizing his mental and physical strength, a pioneering surgeon believed Koch was an ideal candidate for a revolutionary human hand transplant. In a groundbreaking procedure, Koch made medical history by successfully receiving a new hand.
While it typically takes several years to learn how to use a transplanted hand, Koch's determination and tenacity allowed him to succeed in its use within just four months.
Astonishingly, he was back on the tennis court soon thereafter, showcasing his resilience and unwavering spirit.
Today, Koch shares his remarkable journey with people worldwide.
Through coaching, leadership, and motivational speaking engagements, he inspires others to stand up and fight against adversity.
Jonathan Koch's story serves as a powerful testament to the strength of the human spirit and the extraordinary possibilities that can emerge from even the darkest of situations.
Medal of Courage
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