Sadly my relationship with the Rugby Foundation started back on the 20th of May 1995 at 25 yrs old, where like so many Saturday’s before, it started the same, with me getting up and doing a few chores on the farm before heading to a game of rugby, but this one was going to end differently.
I had been brought up as a good Kiwi farm boy. Rugby was the number one sport, so I started playing at the age of 5 on those frosty morning in bare feet, through the age groups with the odd rep team here and there. First XV then local rep’s rugby for three years in the under 21’s with the last been captain, might I say unbeaten that year. Then local senior rep rugby, so on the 20th of May heading down to play for my local second division senior rugby team, I was quiet relaxed, captain for the day as our captain was away.
Who would have known in over-time, I would take the ball off the back of the scrum and do a blind side move with the half back and wing, where as I was backing up like a good 8 should I took the ball off our wing at the start of a maull, I was been held up so was trying to turn the right way, when I was hit up the bum, by a monster of a man from their team.
I remember thinking %$#@ I am in the wrong position, then the pain shooting me in the neck like someone was stabbing me with a hot poker, I couldn’t breathe, over a hour later I was loaded up in a helicopter. The next 4 or 5 days were a blur, when I did come coherent, I was told that I had dislocated my neck and was left a C4-5 Tetraplegic and would never walk again. It was a split second of been in the wrong place, just one of those things, it happens!
I mourned for my old life and still have my moments like many, but my life hasn’t stopped and I have achieved so much this far in a wheelchair, like farming on 1100 acres in the back blocks of Central Hawkes Bay 1995 – 2010. The Rugby Foundation helped with my 4 wheel adapted bike. The Rugby Foundation has helped me and many other injured rugby players to carry out and make possible every day dreams.
The time I went to the UK to experience integrated adventure courses, (able bodied and disabled participants) with a Charity “Back- up UK” I experienced water skiing, sailing, camping, paragliding, abseiling just to name a few. When back in New Zealand I got involved in Back-up NZ. First as a course team leader 2004-09 then working in the office as volunteer 2006 -08, then became board member 2006-08 to vice chairman 2008 – 2010 we ran over 40 courses and touched many peoples’ lives for the better and the Rugby Foundation funded that first trip and became a great supporter of many of its participants and its courses.
In the past couple of years I have grown this into a business of speaking and life coaching. I have done presentations and workshops with international organisations and local groups, it’s been fantastic year of success. I have shared the stage with world renowned speakers and was asked to share with over 200 follow entrepreneurs from all over the world in a recent refresher with the life mastery Institute in LA!
I have so much gratitude for what the rugby foundation do, by the way they support us in developing a life after an injury in rugby.
THANK YOU TO ALL WHO SUPPORT THE RUGBY FOUNDATION, YOUR GENEROUSITY MAKES A REAL DIFFERENCE.