Back to the nest
INJURED Leongatha footballer Beau Vernon is out of rehabilitation and back at his family home in Newhaven.
After months in hospital and a rehabilitation centre, he is more than happy to be back home.
“It’s definitely good to be out of rehab and moving forward with life,” he told The Star.
“I’m settling in well but at the same time it’s tough adjusting back to my ‘new life’ I suppose you’d call it.”
Beau suffered a spinal cord injury during a football match last June when the Parrots took on Wonthaggi Power at Wonthaggi.
He is now a quadriplegic with limited movement in his arms.
Beau’s love for football is still strong however, and he is looking forward to playing an off field role with the Parrots in 2013.
“I think the idea is that dad (Daryl) and I will be running the bench down there (Leongatha) this year,” he said.
“We’ll be getting down to training one night a week and just helping out.
“It’ll just make it easier on me to have my mind on other things. If I have some role in coaching, my mind is not going to be so much on ‘I wish I was out there’.
“I will be thinking of the game and what we can do instead of sitting back and just watching my brother and mates play. It’ll be good to get involved, that’s for sure.”
He is also focusing on other sports. Beau recently became part of the World Disability Darts Association committee.
After contacting the president of the association Russell Strobel about playing, Beau was invited to join the committee.
“It’s not all that much work, just promoting the association a bit and replying to emails and what not,” he said.
“The world championships of darts are in England in October, and there is wheel chair darts over there as well, so there is the possibility of going over there then, which would be pretty cool.”
Darts isn’t the only sport that is being explored.
“I’m just messing around with a number of sports at the moment and seeing what there is,” Beau said.
“I think I will definitely want to get into something a bit more seriously further down the track.”
Beau’s supportive family has been a great help during his treatment and move home.
“It makes it easier coming home to a family and girlfriend (Lucy) that are very supportive,” he said.
“Another bloke who was in rehab doesn’t have much family and he doesn’t know where he is going home to. He was only 17 years old. I am pretty fortunate in that regard.”
Self improvement is the number one goal for the 24 year old.
“I just want to become more independent. I want to rely on other people less,” he said.
Beau’s progress so far is impressive.
“Initially it was still hard to comprehend the injury (in hospital) and what I was going to be able to do,” he said.
“Now to think what I can do with no finger movement, and the few muscles I have working, to think of all the things I can do for myself it’s pretty amazing.
“I suppose at the moment I think I’m ahead of where a lot of other people would have been at this stage of the injury.
“I just want to keep pushing the boundaries and just keep going further.”
Since coming home, Beau has ventured into the waters around Phillip Island.
“It was good. I had been in the pool a couple of times at rehab but not that much and just to get back in the ocean was awesome,” he said.
“Getting in was a weird feeling. I’d get in and couldn’t really feel the water until it reached my shoulder, but it was a hot day so it was very relaxing and nice.
“I’m hoping down the track that could lead to getting on a surfboard and riding some waves, or even kayaking.
“I wouldn’t mind getting a kayak I could possibly use, maybe a two man kind of set up.”
Optimism has helped him deal with his injury.
“My motivation is just the thought of making things easier for myself and easier on everyone else around me,” he said.
“That’s motivation enough for me to keep getting better because obviously the stronger and the better I get at things, the easier life’s going to be for me.”
After days of physical therapy in the rehabilitation centre, Beau is now doing his own program. This is made up of a combination of exercises he learnt in the centre and previous knowledge from a personal training course.
“I’m just doing a lot of practical work and working on stuff I need to do, transfers and what not,” he said.
“The other day I was just practicing getting in and out of the car and getting my chair in the car.”
An ongoing support network by the community in Leongatha and Phillip Island, as well as Gippsland, has helped.
“It’s definitely overwhelming. I couldn’t thank everyone enough,” he said.
“I have just got to show people my appreciation through what I do in the future and I just use that as a motivating factor to achieve more things and make something of my life.
“I don’t want to be just somebody in a wheelchair but actually accomplish things.”
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