JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Ishika Lay, 34, was a favorite to win the gold medal in the 2012 Olympic games in London. But just before she had that chance, she collapsed in the ring during an Olympic qualifying fight in Ohio.
The cause was second impact syndrome. Lay had suffered a concussion 10 days prior to her match in Ohio while she practiced with a male boxer in Jacksonville Beach.
That second hit to the head, while her brain was still recovering from the previous concussion, was the blow that ended her boxing career.
"Not only ended her boxing career but potentially almost ended her life. Her doctor said she was done, she was dead," said John Phillips, Lay's attorney.
According to longtime friend Kim Mahafy, Lay's brain injuries will likely never go away but the fact that she even woke up from a coma is a miracle.
"All the doctors, nobody gave her a chance in hell to make it. When she opened her eyes for the first time, that was the biggest miracle I've ever seen in my entire life," said Mahafy.
Lay is now fighting back with a lawsuit against the coach and chiropractors that trained and treated her throughout her career.
According to her attorney, John Phillips, they neglected to treat her properly and are ultimately responsible for her condition.
"She went to a doctor and said 'what do I need to do' and they put ice on her head and the chiropractor gave her hydrocodone and that's absolutely a no-no. Doctors prescribe pills not chiropractors," said Phillips.
Now she struggles just to care for herself.
"She has the hope and the fighter's mentality but she can't cook for herself and she can't take care of herself," said Phillips.
The lawsuit is seeking millions of dollars in damages.
But according to Mahafy no amount of money could ever bring Lay back to where she used to be.
She now hopes she can be a voice for others who have suffered from severe brain injuries.
"I'm working on a non-profit it'll be in honor of her for the aftermath of brain injuries and for her to help be the spokesperson, be a mentor for so many people that don't think there is any hope," said Mahafy.
Lay's attorney is also planning to file a lawsuit against the gym Headstrong that initially allowed her to get in the ring with a male boxer.
Action News reached out to the chiropractors mentioned in the suit but a phone call to their office was not returned.