From Near-Death To The Olympics: A Transformation That Will Inspire You

AJ Muss is just 23 years old, but his has been an eventful life so far. As an alpine snowboarder, AJ qualified for this year's Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, competing for Team USA— but that's not the only reason we love his story. We've already seen a number of new young American stars be made on the mountain during these Olympic Games, including fellow snowboarders and gold medalists Chloe Kim and Red Gerard. When AJ competes in the Men's Parallel Giant Slalom beginning later this week, we hope to see him shine as brightly as his teammates have so far.


Because there was a time when AJ was at risk of never making it out of the hospital, let alone down a mountain at the Olympics. It was his near-death experience that inspired the New Jersey native to become the best snowboarder he could possibly be.

AJ started racing when he was 6 years old. By the time he was in fifth grade, his family moved to Colorado for the winter, so that AJ, who was proving to be a snowboarding prodigy, could compete at a higher level. From the beginning, AJ had one goal: be the best and don't let anybody or anything stand in his way. And he hasn't—even after being close to death.

In 2014, AJ underwent a routine surgery after suffering tears in his shoulder. But his recovery was the furthest thing from routine. What AJ and his family learned later was that the athlete had developed a life-threatening hole in his heart, called a postoperative pulmonary edema. But in the moment, when his mother found AJ with his eyes rolling back in his head, all they knew was that he needed immediate and drastic help to stay alive. After a complicated transfer to a hospital in Denver, during which he had to be revived after being clinically dead for 30 seconds, AJ was put into a medically induced coma so that doctors could investigate the issues and operate to fix them.

AJ survived this ordeal, thanks to the close attention of his surgeons, but doctors told him he needed further procedures, including heart surgery, which would mean he'd have to give up the thing he loved most: snowboarding. That's where he drew the line. "Snowboarding is a dream I would never give up," says AJ.

Determination and the support of his family helped AJ make a full recovery, even without the heart surgery, and since then he has clocked some of his best times ever. "I was a good snowboarder before the incident, but after I became a great snowboarder," he says.

At age 23, AJ is the first and youngest snowboarder to claim EIGHT first-place prizes in the same NOR-AM season, and he's currently ranked in the Top 30 Alpine Snowboarders worldwide! To top it off, the young athlete is about to achieve his life-long dream of competing in the Olympics.

Here's how AJ describes it: "Being named an Olympian is an honor and pleasure. It's something I've always wanted to be and I'm proud to be named an Olympian."

You can watch this resilient American athlete compete in Men's Parallel Giant Slalom events this week. To see even more from AJ, follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

This HooplaHa original video was produced by Tracy Chevrier, shot by Sergio Uzurin, and edited by Kellie Sieban. For more inspiring videos like this, follow us on Facebook and sign up for our Only Good News Newsletter.

5 New Year's Resolutions to Make Every Year

With every new year comes a clean slate and the opportunity to make your next 365 days as meaningful as possible. What are some of your resolutions? We came up with some ideas for resolutions for this year and every year after.

From our OGTV family to yours, Happy New Year!

Keep reading... Show less

Blind Waiter Serves Up Diner Classics and Life Lessons

** As we wind down to the final days of this difficult year, OGTV is tipping our hat to all of the essential workers on the front lines with this uplifting story about a New Jersey man who has found a way to do this difficult job for years, even without his eyesight! **

The flickering neon sign reflects eerily off the aging, chrome exterior; a long smooth marble counter with spinning stools draws your gaze left and right as you enter; the checkered linoleum floor seeps under the rows of back-to-back leather booths enveloped by the rain streaked wrap-around windows. You may think you've entered a typical American roadside eatery, but your experience here will be anything but ordinary.

You have just stepped into the Bendix Diner, a staple in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey since the 1940's. It's no surprise that The Bendix can serve up a sizzling Burger with deep fried onion rings and a frothy chocolate shake. What is unique about this meal is the waiter who delivers it to your table – his name is John Diakakis, and he is blind.

Keep reading... Show less

How to Reduce Feelings of Isolation and Loneliness - Ask The Doctor (E7)

During these incredibly stressful days, OnlyGood TV is excited to launch a new series - Ask The Doctor - that explores the questions and provides guidance for finding the road to achieving emotional, psychological, and spiritual wellness.

Hosted by Dr. Stacy Berman, each episode will help you navigate through these rough times and find your way to a happier and healthier life. Feeling lonely and isolated during quarantine? In this episode, Stacy reminds us that we are all wired to be part of a social community and offers a simple, self-soothing exercise to fill that connection gap that we are all experiencing.

Keep reading... Show less

Are You A Christmas Trivia Expert? - Not Your Average Joe

Everyone could use a few more smiles in their daily lives…and watching a funny video will often do the trick! OnlyGood TV videos help make your life fun, more manageable, happy and stress free!

Joe Leonardo is an improv actor from New York City. For our new "man on the street" series, Not Your Average Joe, he traveled through Times Square asking New Yorkers trivia questions about Christmas! Check out this hysterical video and see which city pedestrians know their facts and which don't... Keep track of your own answers too! Happy Holidays!

Keep reading... Show less

Chefs Honor Sailors and Their Families With a Holiday Feast to Remember (Random Acts of Cooking E1)

What would be a unique way to honor the service of 400 hungry sailors and their families for the holidays? You contact Chef Plum, have him round up his crew of top flight chefs and grill masters, bring in enough food to feed…well…the Navy, spice it up with a dash of top flight entertainment, and you have all of the ingredients for a memorable evening of food, love, and family!

Keep reading... Show less

Sullivan the Therapy Dog Helps Make A Christmas Movie - Sullivan's Travels

** OGTV is celebrating the first day of winter and the holiday season by inviting you to join a golden retriever named Sullivan on one of his many adventures. **

Do you ever wonder what a day in the life of a therapy dog is like? In the OGTV Original Series "Sullivan's Travels," a golden retriever therapy dog named Sullivan Travolta takes us along with her as she assists folks in all kinds of settings. Having been trained at Project Chance in Jacksonville, Florida, Sullivan provides support and happiness to kids and adults in schools, nursing homes, classes, and any other program where she's needed.

Keep reading... Show less

* OGTV Top Videos *

Watch and Subscribe
It's a Positivity Movement
OnlyGood TV on YouTube

mailbox

Get your Only Good TV Newsletter