After a stint at Northern Essex Community College, Dobrosielski relocated to the West Coast, where he enrolled at San Diego State University, and joined the school’s cross-country team. He later coached cross-country at the high-school level before becoming a La Jolla, Calif., lifeguard.
Soon after, Dobrosielski began competing in national and international lifeguarding competitions. He was a multiple-event winner in the 2002 and 2004 World Lifesaving Association Championships and the 2009 United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) National Lifeguard Champion in the International Ironman competition (40-44 age division).
In 2009, Dobrosielski suffered a life-changing injury during qualifying for the USLA Open finals. He threw out his back, an injury that provided the motivation for his career as an author, speaker, coach and trainer. He started a company, Monumental Results, Inc., and published his own book, which has a forward written by former Celtics great Bill Walton.
“Going into this summer, I had four years of great health,” Dobrosielski said. “I’m in the best shape of my life at 44. I arrived at the World Championships in July, set my equipment down and felt a twinge in my back I hadn’t felt in four years. I had minimal participation that day, and I definitely exacerbated the condition.”
Dobrosielski followed his own self-prescribed remedies, concluding that the back injury was the result of emotional and mental fatigue from his book tour. Still, he rehabilitated the injury for three weeks before Nationals, hoping to avoid a flare-up.
“I hold myself to a higher standard as a coach and author of a book on injury prevention,” Dobrosielski said. “I had to ask myself, ‘Is my back going to hold up without the testing and progress I would have preferred to have seen over the previous three weeks?’”
On the first day of Nationals, Dobrosielski learned his back would not hold up while competing in a paddling leg of a relay.