How my journey began…
In High School, I discovered rugby and immediately fell in love with the game. Training, playing and watching quickly became part of my lifestyle. I lived and breathed it. Following a path that involved playing rugby was my plan A.
But last year in June, I played my last tackle. I was involved in a ferocious tackle that left me unconscious and paralysed from the chest down. When I was rushed to the hospital after that game, I was initially told that I had suffered no serious injuries. I was then sent home without so much as a neck brace. I was advised that I would regain feeling in my body after a few days.
After spending two painful days paralysed in my bed at home, I knew something was wrong. I insisted that my mother call an ambulance. Although the paramedics were hesitant to take me to hospital because of my initial prognosis, I insisted that I needed a second opinion. After arriving at a different hospital, it was immediately discovered that I had suffered a dislocation and fracture of my spine at the base of my neck. I was told to prepare for the very real possibility that I would never walk again.
After finding out my diagnosis, I knew that not only was possibility of ever playing rugby again completely erased, but I also feared that I my future of living a normal abled-bodied human life was also severely threatened. It took some time for me to process this, but I soon realised that living a normal life was never something I was destined to do. I knew I could be more – even though I couldn’t walk, or bathe myself, or feed myself – I knew I had a unique destiny.
It was a special combination of motivation, stubbornness, and a refusal to accept that I would never walk again that lit a spark in me that gave me the fight I needed to will my body to move again. It started out as a small toe wiggle after my spinal surgery, and progressed to me being able to move my legs and feet.