Ben Larson

On 30 March 1999, while playing in a preseason friendly match between my high school and another Invercargill high school, I dislocated my neck between cervical vertebrae 4 and 5; this left me completely paralysed below the neck.

After spending four and half months in the Burwood spinal unit I returned home, with only enough arm movement to drive an electric wheelchair. I was 16 when I had my accident, and had my 17th birthday in Burwood spinal unit.
On returning home I went back to school to complete my sixth and seventh form studies.

leaving school I have been involved in many activities including work, studies, overseas travel, and outdoor pursuits.

The rugby foundation were very supportive of myself and my family after my accident, they paid for my parents to visit me in the spinal unit, and recently have paid for new accommodation for me in my parents building which they own (we live in an old factory type building) originally I was on the top floor. However we felt this was not safe for a quadriplegic in the event of a emergency, so the rugby foundation funded a new apartment development on the bottom floor.

They have also recently given me a substantial study grant as I am currently completing a psychology degree. I am 28 years old now 13 years after my accident, things have not been easy but assistance from organisations like the New Zealand rugby foundation have made things a lot easier, and changed my life.