On the 10th of July 2002, I remember regaining consciousness on the ground, looking down to discover that the lower part of my leg was no longer attached and realising that I was in a bit of trouble.
Have you ever caught yourself pondering what it would be like to be the best in the world at something? To be part of something so big that you could only dream about?
Making my way through primary school I spent more time dreaming about donning the green and gold, before tearing onto the Rugby League field then doing actual school work. There is no hiding the fact that I was more athletic than academic. The best part of school was recess and lunch, where I could kick a ball around with my friends and burn some energy.
The dream of being the world’s best was always with me, it didn’t matter what I was doing I was always so competitive. The dream of playing football for Australia was going to happen one day, as a child I just knew it!
Until that day, where in a flash these dreams seemed to be shattered. I’d lost the lower half of leg in an accident on our family farm.
Our family farm is located 35km from the closest town, with no mobile phone service, and roads that are not clearly named which marked. The odds weren’t in my favour, it was always going to be a battle to survive.
Instinctively I got up and hopped to the ute, where my brother Phil, 16 at the time, drove our family ute the fastest I’d ever experienced. We were met by my parents.
My parent was faced with what I imagine was the hardest decision of their lives. Call for an ambulance and wait for it to arrive, or to drive their 12-year-old son who was in agony, themselves. Knowing that time was short, the decision was made, we weren’t going to wait, but begin the trip and hopefully meet the ambulance on the way.
Dad wrapped a belt around my leg, and Phil help my leg in an attempt to slow the bleeding. Flying down the road towards the hospital, dad had somehow he was able to compose himself enough and keep the car on the road.
The visions of representing Australia seemed to be destroyed in the blink of an eye. Would I walk again? Would I run? At this point we still weren’t sure if I’d survive.
Around 35 minutes had passed since the accident and we’d driven around 25km before we met the ambulance. I was now in the care of trained professionals, although I was still not yet out of trouble.
The hospital at my home town, Temora, was no equipped to handle severe cases of trauma. It was vital that to obtain external support, and that support came when Snowy Hydro south care. They were tasked to stabilise me and then airlift me to Canberra. Where I’d would have a greater chance of survival.
Over the following 3.5 weeks I underwent around 12 operations. In which the doctors had to amputate my leg even higher, then put me back together.
The journey was going to be both physical and mental and being an amputee is something that I had to come to terms with. When faced with this situation I had to make a choice – Was I going to hide from the world or attack the challenge head on? It has been a traumatic few weeks for me and my family, but I didn’t take long to decide.
This was only going to be a diversion on the road to my dreams. I was keen to push past this inconvenience and ensure that my life would go on.
I was soon to realise my amazing support network. A network that had always been around me but I’d never fully appreciated. This support not only came from my family, who were amazing, but from the entire district. The support they gave Mum, Dad, brother and sisters, enabled them to keep me in good spirits and get me back home as fast as possible.
At this point I’d realized that playing for the Kangaroos was out of the question but there had to be other options.
Fast forward a decade, and what I thought was only a dream when I was a kid is about to become a reality at the London 2012 Paralympics. Although the Paralympics were not exactly what I envisioned as a primary school student, I am about to realise my dream of pulling on the green and gold. I was about to represent Australia, as a part of the track and field team.
It’s been an incredible journey for Scott. There’s been ups, downs and a lot of hard work. He’s represented Australia at both the Paralympics & IPC World Championships and recently received a gold medal in the Men’s T42 100m at the world championships in Doha.
Scott has overcome an adversity that most of us could hardly imagine. He’s become number 1, in not just 1 but 2 sports (water skiing).
What appeared to be ultimate devastation, was merely the first step in a journey, in the making of an incredible man.
It is our hope that the above sport from Scott’s life has inspired those who needed it, encouraged those who too are facing adversity, and maybe even brought the slightest tear to your eye. Live life, excellent.