Teessider Sam Watson was left paralyzed from the waist down after a motor-bike accident left him in a critical condition for eight weeks.
The 22-year-old told TUXTRA how his life has changed since the tragedy.
Previously Sam used to work for the NHS and was astounded at how his six month treatment in hospital went.
Injuries caused by the accident included: a broken back, neck and pelvis while suffering a raft of other injuries – leading to a six month stay in hospital and a permanent spinal cord injury.
Sam said: “I won’t get better, but I can improve with the help of Alex my Sports Therapist.”
Alex Fawkes is a Sports Therapist at Peak Potential and has been working with Sam since the summer.
Alex said: “When I initially first met with Sam he didn’t really have any fitness goals, I believe this was because he didn’t know what he was capable of! He just wanted to maybe loose some weight and generally improve strength to make transfers easier and have something to focus on.”
“We have been doing weekly strength training sessions and Sam has also been working out on his own and since then Sam has progressed hugely in all areas. When he first started training he was lifting the lightest weight he had and now he is easiest lifting the heaviest weight he has.
“Due to Sam’s injury level and the damage he has to his stomach muscles and he was initially unable to hold both arms straight out in front of him, he can now hold this position for 30 seconds.
“Sam is finding transfers in and out of his wheelchair much easier due to the gains in his upper body strength, he is now driving again and is able to easily lift his wheelchair into the car himself.
“A few months ago Sam was unable to hold his arm behind his head to carry out a tricep stretch so I was doing this for him, he is now able to get into the position and hold the stretch for 20 seconds. He has now developed enough strength to be able to lift himself onto his standing frame, which is hugely important for wheelchair users.
“We complete monthly fitness tests to track Sam’s progress and every month he makes huge improvements.
“There are so many other factors that makes exercising with a spinal cord injury very challenging, so much more that just not being able to move certain parts of your body but Sam will just adapt around these obstacles.
“He is now working full time and still turns up to every session after work, he is an absolute pleasure to work with and I feel very honoured to be a part of his progress. With his dedication and determination I am so excited to see how far Sam can improve his fitness and wellbeing.”
Looking into the future Sam is wanting to promote his Blog, Wheelchair Sam, where he aims to educate people of what his life is like after his accident.
He said: “I use a wheelchair instead of legs, and that is it. There is no more to it than that.”
“I have to think about things a little bit more, but I gave it time and everything worked out in the end.”
Hi! My name is Hannah Conway and I am a Multimedia Journalist in the final year of my degree at Teesside University.
Journalism, BA (Hons)
Since I was a child I’ve always loved the news and being informed. Like others, I would religiously sit down and watch any news, listen to any radio and read any paper I could from the age of about 12. It was a no brainer for me to come into this career and to do a job that I enjoy. I’m a proud Teessider, so being able to report on and work local issues and national issues is a big interest of mine. In my first year of my studies, I won the award for ‘Community Reporter of the Year’, which allowed my proud Teessider status to show. Every day that I get to work in this industry is a pleasure, and I’m excited for whatever the future holds following my graduation from University.
Software & Hardware Proficiencies:
I am skilled using Adobe software, Open Media, Scheduler, Dira applications and iMovie, which I have practised and learnt through my studies. I can also use professional cameras, as well as video cameras such as the AC-90.
Employment, Work Experience & Volunteering:
I currently work at the Stockton and Billingham Life Newspaper, where each week I write up a match report on Middlesbrough FC and this is published weekly on a Thursday in various locations around the Teesside Area.
I have also carried out work for The Sunderland Echo, and did a two week work placement at BBC Tees.
Despite studying a Journalism course, I often delve into the wider social science world too. I have created pieces of work varying from politics to mental health. I have a keen eye for art, and also love music. Visiting different places in the world and photography are also huge passions of mine.