Hi. My name is Geoff Cochrane and I’m now a C5/C6 tetraplegic as a result of a collapsed scrum in a game held in Taumarunui in April 1983.
While at the Otara Spinal Unit I had a lucky break when my boss came for a visit and offered me my job back with MAF, I jumped at the chance as I had three daughters, a wife, and a mortgage to pay off. This would always be better than 80% of my salary.
I had to with go some physio and rehab work as this would eat into my work time. Having a job meant a lot to me as it kept my mind active and I was able to continue my relationships with the King Country farming community.
No weekend work gave me more time to spend with family and friends, an important part of anyone’s life. I later joined the Lions Club and went back to coaching hockey at the local High School. In 1990 I was made the District Manager for the Lower King Country Lake Taupo Districts in recognition of my dedication and knowledge of the job and area. Quite an achievement for a tetraplegic.
My involvement with the Rugby Foundation came in November 2007 when I was back in the Otara Spinal Unit. I had a visit from Rocky Patterson where he informed me what the Rugby Foundation was all about and inquired as to any special needs I had at that time. I was lucky enough to receive financial assistance to build a garage for my car and gear. Rocky retired soon after and Andrew Flexman took over the reins.
Andrew kept me up to date with all things happening with the Foundation, always encouraging participation in their activities. I was lucky to attend two luncheons at Eden Park in Hamilton, luncheons that were held to promote the injured players profiles and what the Rugby Foundation has achieved to help people like me.
Unfortunately I have had an on going pressure area for the last five years and have consequently missed out on three opportunities to attend the Wellington Sevens, trips that were funded by the Rugby Foundation on our behalf. Fingers crossed for next year.
I would like to continue my relationship with the Rugby Foundation as they are an admirable group of people that provide inspiration and support for people like me.
Sadly Geoff passed away on Saturday 22 August 2015. Our thoughts and prayers remain with those he left behind.
NZ Rugby Foundation
Sport Auckland House Level 4, Alexandra Park Function Centre, Gate B, Greenlane Road West, Epsom, Auckland