A Clarington, Ont. teen with a history of concussions has shifted his focus to lift him up and propel him forward.
Powerlifting has given Jacob Bisch an opportunity to come out of his shell and excel on the world stage.
“When I come here I don’t have to focus on anything, just lifting,” said Bisch.
For the past year and a half, the gym has been Bisch’s second home. The 16-year-old works out six days a week for two to four hours at a time.
That time in the gym has paid off.
Bisch competed in the Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships in St. John’s, N.L. last month. Earlier this year, he also took part in the 2019 IPF World Classic Powerlifting Championships in Helsingborg, Sweden.
“When I started, I squatted 315 (pounds), I benched 200 and I deadlifted 340. Now, I squat 540, bench 350 and deadlift 520,” said Bisch.
“He has big joints, he’s big-boned, he eats like there is no other, he’s built for it,” said Jacob’s dad Tim Bisch.
At 5-foot-11 and weighing 310 pounds, the path to get here was rocky. Powerlifting was something Bisch discovered after suffering several concussions.
“My first concussion was actually me going feet first into the boards when I was playing hockey, just from the whiplash of my head,” said Bisch.
Growing up he ate, slept and dreamed about hockey, but five years ago he suffered a debilitating head injury during a game, ending his hockey career.
“It was hard for me to find something that I was that passionate about, and (after) about my seventh concussion, actually, I lost the memory of a couple of my friends, and I had to relearn how to walk,” said Bisch.
“Vision problems, light sensitivity, severe migraines, there were days where he just had to be in the dark and couldn’t move,” said Tim Bisch.
Powerlifting has opened up so many doors for Bisch and has given him more confidence in himself.
“I was always quiet, I didn’t really express how I felt, now I find it easier for me,” said Bisch.
“Since he started, he’s gained about 60 pounds in muscle alone,” said Tim Bisch.
Bisch credits his dad for helping him find his new passion.
“My dad brings me here every day and nothing would have happened without him,” said Bisch.
While he’s competed in a number of national and international competitions, even in some cases setting new records, Bisch says he feels the sky is the limit.