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Superhuman Strength - A Hero
Lauren and Her Father
A few days ago Lauren Kornacki,a 22 year old recent college graduate went looking for her father and found him pinned under a 3000 pound car in their garage. Apparently the jack slipped and the car fell on top of him. His arm was caught over his chest and he was unconscious. Lauren picked the car up using superhuman strength as if it was the end of a table. Then, she began CPR and in a few minutes he started to breathe again before the ambulance arrived. Her father suffered 5 fractured ribs, a fractured sternum and vertebrae. He has also lost some of the feeling in his right arm but doctors expect him to make a full recovery. Lauren says she is no hero but she saved her father’s life.
This is not the first time we have heard of such a feat. How does someone, like this petite woman, have the strength to move something as heavy as a car, even with an adrenal surge? Does the fact that the trapped man was her father have anything to do with her super strength?
Superheros in Fiction
So often in fiction, whether movies or hero games, characters exhibit superhuman strength, which is the ability to be stronger than is humanly possible. Yet, in 2006, Tim Boyle watched as a Chevrolet Camero hit 18 year old Kyle Holtrust and pin him under the car. Kyle was still alive, so Tim Boyle lifted the car while the driver of the car pulled the boy to safety saving his life. There are many other examples of similar events.
“Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They're just braver 5 minutes longer.”
― Ronald Reagan
Hysterical strength is another term used to describe superhuman strength. We have heard of mothers lifting cars of their children. Hysterical strength is unnatural and amazing and it only happens during high stress situations. This phenomenon is not recognized by medical science. Of course, they cannot reproduce these events in a clinical setting, which means they may never have a complete explanation. However, they can hardly deny that these events occur. Furthermore, they are aware that the adrenalin effects do improve strength to an amazing degree for short periods of time.
Angry Polar Bear
A Hero for Sure
In 2006, Lydia Angyiou wrestled a polar bear when she saw it heading toward her son and another boy playing hockey. This woman wrestled with the bear until a neighbor was able to shoot the bear 4 times until it died. Lydia only suffered some minor wounds. This is certainly a remarkable story of courage, hysterical strength or just plain craziness.
Adrenalin Reaction in Fight versus Flight
Most people have heard of the fight or flight syndrome, which occurs when we are faced with a suddenly dangerous situation. What actually happens from a physical standpoint? The stressor quickly stimulates the hypothalamus, and this area of the brain maintains the balance between stress and relaxation in the body. When it receives the danger alert the hypothalamus sends a signal to the adrenal glands, which in turn activates the sympathetic system. At this point the body is in an excited state. The adrenal glands secrete epinephrine and noradrenalin hormones.
The body is instantly in a state of readiness with an increased heart rate, increased respirations, dilated pupils and blood is diverted away from the digestive tract into the muscles. Adrenalin allows the muscles to contract more effectively than when the body in a relaxed state. As the adrenal glands are located just above the kidneys, they allow blood to easily flow into the muscles which increases from 300-400%. Furthermore, glycogen is quickly converted into glucose, which strengthens the muscles even further. The body is so amazing as this whole process happens in a matter of seconds.
Physiology Chart of Stress Reaction
Adrenaline: Fight or Flight Response
We are sure to hear of other heroic stories that sound impossible, but fortunately for us they are possible. I would assume the stress level would increase to an even more intense level if a loved one’s life was in danger, and this is probably true for children in danger as well. Most people feel a strong sense of protection where children are concerned. We are so fortunate that there are a lot of heroes in this world.