This Brain Injury Awareness Week we recognise ‘the many faces of brain injury’ by telling the stories of those who’re living meaningful and enriched lives following brain trauma.
We'd like to introduce you to Matt, who after a car crash at 18 has realised his dream of playing AFL Football for the Richmond Wheelchair Football Team, embodying that 'life is bigger than a brain injury'.
I had a car accident when I was 18 and a 1/2 in July 1995. Doctors told my family that I was brain dead and pretty much wrote me off, but they never lost hope.
I was in a coma for 3 months and spent the next 5 months in hospital. Then I went to a rehabilitation hospital and was in there for another 6 months. It was a long hard road of therapy with plenty of knock backs. But I never gave up.
I moved to Melb in 2008 when I was 31 years old for work as I could not find any paid employment in Coolamon or Wagga Wagga. I have worked a few days a week since then and live in a unit by myself with in home supports to help me. Since being on the NDIS I have had great supports to help me; including therapists, in home help, the equipment that I need and a support coordinator who I call my friendly stalker. She understands my brain injury and has helped to connect me with supports and services. Even getting me linked into the Victorian Wheelchair Football league. She sent me information for the AFL Wheelchair football come and try days, so I went along and was lucky enough to be drafted at the start of 2021. And even though I didn't get to play for my beloved Bombers I was very happy being a Tiger! I even got my number, lucky number 13.
From my first game to now I have improved so much. Not just with my footy skills but my confidence too. And I have met some great people and made some lovely friends, it has made a huge difference to my life. And I finally achieved my dream of playing AFL footy, it just took me a brain injury and 25 years to get there 😜
Matt's words of advice/quotes are "Never give up, always keep pushing yourself and setting yourself goals"
Keep on keeping on because everyday is another story"
In discussions with Matt's mum Dianne she said that Matt is proof of what determination gives a person. He had a goal and this determination drove him to succeed. He has achieved so much and we are so proud of him.
You have done wonders for Matt and its been great working with BrainLink"
While life might not be exactly the same once a patient goes home, a brain injury doesn’t define who you are, decide the life you live, or the dreams you pursue. 'Life is bigger than a brain injury' .
From the 15th to the 21st of August 2022, we celebrate the amazing achievements of people with brain injuries by telling the stories of those who’re living meaningful and enriched lives following a brain trauma. We also celebrate their achievement, and the commitment given to them by their families and the communities they live in.
BrainLink Services connects individuals, families and carers affected by Brain Injury to the care, support and networks needed to live the healthiest, richest life possible. Your support is crucial to helping patients adjust to life with brain injuries and providing resources for them to live life to the fullest.
Robert Rose Foundation Victorian Wheelchair Football League | AFL Victoria
In 2018, the Robert Rose Foundation Victorian Wheelchair Football League (VWFL) was launched, providing Victorian’s with a physical disability the opportunity to play AFL in a regular competition.
Photos by courtesy of Nerissa Byrne Photography.