Paralympian's story a tough lesson in risk-taking

CAMPERDOWN Paralympian Josh Hose (pictured) knows the accident which left him wheelchair-bound could have happened to anyone.

The London Paralympic gold medallist wants young people to know how easy things can change and that despite his injury he is no different to anyone else.

Hose is working with a program called SpinChat which aims to raise awareness, promote prevention and educate secondary students about spinal cord injury.

The program is an initiative of Independence Australia in partnership with the Transport Accident Commission (TAC).

In a YouTube clip which features on the TAC Facebook site, Hose tells how on Australia Day 2005 he and three mates decided to head down the coast.

He said as they were driving, his mate lost control of the car which eventually rolled down a six-metre embankment near Port Campbell. 

Hose dislocated his neck resulting in incomplete quadriplegia. 

In the clip, Hose says there are misconceptions about people confined to wheelchairs and he wanted to dispel some of those myths.

Yesterday he told The Standard he wanted young people to know that if they got knocked down, they could get back up.

He said when he was doing his VCE, a representative from the TAC told his class that based on statistics, one person in the group would be maimed or injured in a road accident.

“It’s sort of surreal really,” he said.

“You’ve just got to be aware.”

Hose said year 11 and 12 students were the target of the talks because young adults aged 15-24 were at the greatest risk of a spinal cord injury. 

The most common causes such as road accidents, water-related injuries and falls, were largely preventable. 

“I explain my experience with a spinal cord injury and our story and how it relates to risk-taking behaviour,” he said.

After success in the 2012 London Paralympics taking home a gold medal in wheelchair rugby, Hose said he was gearing up for another big year with four international tournaments.

“I studied last year so it was hard to get the balance,” he said. “Now we’re two years out from Rio and I can focus on rugby.”

cquirk@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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