Beyond Survival: Fighter Jet Pilot Kegan Gill's Recovery From Ejection, TBI, and PTSD

March 13, 2024

Kegan "SMURF" Gill, a former US Navy F/A-18E pilot whose life took a dramatic turn following a near-fatal high-speed ejection at 695mph. Kegan's story is not just about survival; it's a profound narrative of overcoming life-altering injuries, battling and defeating prescription drug addiction, and enduring a gruelling two-year recovery process. His triumphant return to flying Super Hornets symbolises a victory over adversity that few can imagine, yet many can draw inspiration from.

Kegan's tale, however, unfolds further as he confronts delayed-onset PTSD and cognitive issues from a severe traumatic brain injury—a battle that traditional pharmaceutical treatments only worsened, leading to his hospitalisation. Faced with the limitations of the VA healthcare system and a daunting mental health struggle, Kegan embarked on a quest for healing beyond conventional medicine. His transformative experiences with alternative therapies, including indigenous medicine, are pivotal in his journey toward holistic healing. Now medication-free and a competitor in ultra-endurance events, Kegan advocates for chronic health. Join us as he shares his inspiring story of recovery, resilience, and the relentless pursuit of wellness, all while raising a family and giving back through speaking and writing about his life-changing experiences.

Here’s the outline of this interview with Kegan Gill:

[00:01:17] Becoming a Navy aviator.

[00:05:48] Kegan's story.

[00:13:18] When things went wrong.

[00:25:23] Trauma surgery.

[00:27:03] "SMurF".

[00:28:38] Paralysis.

[00:30:53] Nutrition at the VA hospital.

[00:33:27] Weaning off pain medications.

[00:37:47] Book: Black Box Thinking, by Matthew Syed.

[00:42:36] Effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI).

[00:55:25] Stanford prison experiment; Documentary: The Experiment.

[01:02:13] Book: Finding Ultra, by Rich Roll.

[01:02:27] Book: How to Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollan.

[01:02:48] Book: Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker.

[01:03:33] Book: In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan.

[01:05:49] Vet Solutions

[01:06:57] Podcast: Healing Trauma with MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy, with Dan Engle.

[01:08:45] Warrior Angels Foundation.

[01:11:28] Heroic Hearts Project.

[01:14:40] Defenders of Freedom.

[01:16:21] Kirk Parsley; Doc Parsley's Sleep Remedy; Podcasts: Sleep To Win: How Navy SEALs and Other High Performers Stay on Top and How to Get Perfect Sleep with Dr. Kirk Parsley, MD.

[01:18:13] Book: When Brains Collide, by Michael D. Lewis, MD

[01:18:26] Dr. Mark Gordon on the Joe Rogan Experience.

[01:23:12] No Fallen Heroes.

[01:23:43] Max Afterburner Podcast.

[01:24:19] Psychotherapist Troy Valencia; Iboga.

[01:27:06] Awaken Your Soul Iboga retreats.

[01:28:27] 7x Project.

[01:32:59] Book coming: Phoenix Revival.

[01:33:15] Dead Reckoning Collective.

[01:33:21] Book: First Train Out of Denver, by Leo Jenkins.

[01:34:53] Find Kegan Gill on LinkedIn and Instagram.

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