Wheelchair sports school visit fun, but with a sobering message

STUDENTS at Bega Valley schools had the opportunity to participate in the Wheelchair Sports NSW Road Show this week.

While the program incorporates a session playing wheelchair basketball, which was enjoyed by all the students, John Wade from Wheelchair Sports NSW was there to deliver a sobering message. 

Mr Wade became a paraplegic 10 years ago after he suffered spinal cord damage when he got the bends during a scuba dive. 

“I was a risk taker by nature, someone who always felt invincible and was an extremely active man,” he said. 

“Although my accident happened when I was older, I can identify with these teenagers as the age group they are about to enter, 17 to 24, is at the greatest risk of car accidents and other misadventures.”

The Wheelchair Sports NSW School Roads Safety and Wheelchair Basketball program visits over 250 schools in NSW and participates in various community programs throughout the year.

All of the road show presenters have a spinal disability from birth or acquired through an accident or injury, and they are able to discuss their own personal stories.

It also provides students with an understanding of disability sport and the abilities of people with a disability.

Mr Wade’s talk was short but powerful, and certainly gave the students a lot to think about.

“If you push the envelope, this is what will happen to you – like me you will end up in a wheelchair,” he said.

“An accident that puts you in a wheelchair not only changes the course of your life, but of everyone in your family.

“I know a lot of you had a lot of fun giving wheelchair basketball a go, but you got out of the chair and walked away – think about all the people your age who won’t.”

WorkAbility sponsored the visit to Bega High School on Wednesday and Sapphire Coast Anglican College on Friday, while the program is also being presented at Cobargo Public School on Thursday.

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