When it comes to developing cutting-edge technology to help people with spinal problems walk again, Dinesh Palipana is uniquely qualified – not only is he a decorated medical researcher, he’s also a quadriplegic.
Dr Palipana was seriously injured in a car crash on Brisbane’s Gateway Bridge in 2010 that robbed him of the use of his legs and left him with limited use of his arms.
Halfway through medical school, Dinesh was involved in a catastrophic motor vehicle accident that caused a cervical spinal cord injury. He still went on to complete his Doctor of Medicine (MD) and an Advanced Clerkship in Radiology at the Harvard University.
Today is World Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day, providing an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the experiences of people living with a spinal cord injury (SCI).
Today’s awareness day also coincides with Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week running from 2-8 September.
In singles and doubles, there’s no one quite like this 28-year-old from Australia.
Recent surgical trials have bestowed new life on quadriplegics who can now return to activities they never thought they’d be able to do again, thanks to an innovative surgery that relocates nerves.
A dirt bike accident in 2015 left Australian Paul Robinson, now in his 30s, paralyzed from the chest down. Robinson landed on his head and broke one of the vertebrae in his neck, leaving him confined to a wheelchair and rarely able to leave his home. He was one of 16 people participating in a medical trial at Austin Health in Melbourne that used nerve transfers to re-enervate paralyzed muscles in quadriplegic patients.
Professor Bryce Vissel from the University of Technology Sydney wants “no less than a cure” for spinal cord injury patients.
Ashlee Florrimell is a self-proclaimed “water baby” so, despite being a paraplegic, it was a natural progression to start scuba diving and “exploring the bottom of the ocean”.
Ms Florrimell, 31, undertook a ground-breaking scuba diving course for people with spinal cord injury on Sydney’s northern beaches last week and has become a certified diver.
As Beau Vernon scooped up the football one Saturday afternoon at Leongatha seven years ago, he was collected in the head by a Wonthaggi opponent. It wasn’t a big hit, he said, just “wrong angle and wrong time”. He could have added “wrong bloke”, but did not.
“I fell to the ground and knew straight away something was very wrong,” he said.
He could not move his arms or legs. Nor could he feel his limbs when trainers touched them. “That time laying on the ground was the scariest of my life,” he said. Thinking he had broken his neck, he warned teammates, including his younger brother Zak, not to touch him. Less than two hours later, he was in an induced coma in the Alfred hospital. His parents, then on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Africa, flew home in a miserable hurry.
Mandurah mother-of-two Tayla Stone said if she could send a message to her teenage self, it would be that things are going to be okay.
Sustaining a life-changing spinal cord injury in a dirt bike accident at just 16 years old, she found herself facing a confusing and unknown future.
But after tackling all the challenges the situation threw at her, Ms Stone will now use her experiences to support other people who find themselves in the position she was once in.
A triathlete has wept tears of joy after helping his quadriplegic best mate achieve his lifelong dream of completing an Ironman race.
Hundreds of spectators cheered as Kevin Fergusson, 59, pushed Sid James, 60, in his wheelchair across the finish line of the 15th Ironman Western Australia in Busselton on Sunday night.
The South Australian mates completed a gruelling 3.8km swim, 180km ride and 42.2km run in 14 hours, 14 minutes and 39 seconds – more than two hours within the 17 hour time frame given.