Rob’s calm attitude as he recalls his thoughts during that time is admirable. Ordinary tasks such as eating, breathing, tying shoelaces, zipping zips and picking up money became significant challenges for Rob. How could he be so calm?
He was in a hospital for nine months while he dealt with the physical and mental trauma of his injury. He experienced different phases of frustration as he accepted how his future had changed. Although it was difficult to appreciate what his life would look like after his injury, exploring his faith and the support from his family and friends made the adjustments more bearable.
Just one year after his injury, Rob was determined to return to university and face the new challenges that would come with completing his degree.
His initial mindset dictated that recovery meant regaining full mobility, so he really buckled down and worked hard in physio. He rejected wheelchairs because using one felt like a backwards step in his physio progress. Instead, he resorted to using crutches to get around. While he is proud of his efforts in physiotherapy, Rob can’t help but look back and feel as though he limited himself and his experiences during that time. Using crutches was so physically demanding that simply having a coffee with friends or travelling between classes became exhausting.
“It took a few years for me to realise that I was less disabled in a wheelchair, even though people didn’t see that when they saw me in a wheelchair compared to seeing me on crutches.”
A chance introduction to wheelchair rugby allowed him to gradually accustom his mindset. He quickly realised how human perception can alter the truth of being in a wheelchair.