Match/Mismatch: Joe


I’m an l1 incomplete paraplegic. 
I live in Hobart Tasmania and I’ve been a manual wheelchair user since 2009.
Ah, I had my injury, skydiving, as I came
level with the Tasman Bridge here in Hobart.
It acted as a windbreak, took the updraft out of the shoot and we fell 30 m.
The instructor land on top of me, using me as a cushion.
And uh, that was that.
So eventually I found myself in Melbourne, in hospital, being prepared for/surgery and then eventually in the rehab facility.

So during that time in the rehab facility, I tried many, many manual
wheelchairs and they were secondhand, thirdhand, demo
models, those sorts of things.
And eventually I was prescribed a wheelchair, took 12
months for that wheelchair to arrive at my home in Hobart.
And when it did arrive it actually was miss, miss, 
was actually a mis prescribed.
So it was just completely unsuitable for me.
And then eventually we were able to adapt that chair to be
used in day to day life and then recently I was able
to get a new wheelchair prescribed for me through the NDIS
and that chair has just been phenomenal.
The design of that chair is so much different from the first one.
You know, there’s there’s things like carbon fiber which is much more, you know, available/titanium frames./The chair is now lighter, it’s far more robust.
Um you know, a lot of options.
The carbon rest, carbon fiber back rest is probably one of the biggest changes for me.
Um yeah, it’s just amazing to know that all the information that was, you know
not available back in 2009 is now available for those people going
forward that you know, need these mobility devices.
So um really, really lucky to be able to go out in the community/and still make the most of life.

So moving back to Hobart, you know, it was 2009 and you know, the
inclusive movement hadn’t really started so much here and it was really hard to get
around Hobart independently.
I had to rely on other people to help me out, even things as simple as curbs
and disabled parking.
Really, really hard to come by.
And you know, that affected my mental and physical health quite a lot.
So come 2021, there’s been a big push here in Hobart
to have those elements now made accessible
I believe the number of disabled car spaces here in Hobart has tripled, if not more
and know, we’re seeing the design of curbs that are just completely flat
from the pedestrian pathway into parking bays
and just safety bullard set up, so it’s really fantastic to be able to get
back out there and, you know, feel safe um and know that we can get around,
but, you know it hasn’t always been that way.

A lot of people think we just use the everyday day to day
wheelchair for everything, when in actual fact, if we were to use that
chair, it would be damaged quite badly and therefore we wouldn’t be able to get out and about.
So it’s fascinating to see the advances in the design for sporting
I’ve just taken up para badminton and I thought I knew things
about sporting wheelchairs before, but you know, it’s so much different,
to between a basketball chair and, you know, a tennis chair and a badminton chair.
You know, even the equipment people use for other sports, like
archery, you know we saw a lot of that sort equipment in the
paralympics, which is wonderful and I learned a lot from that process and,
watching those athletes compete.
But wow, the amount of change in the design of sporting
equipment has just come leaps and bounds and that’s what I really get excited about, is
having the opportunity to try some of that equipment and you know,
make sporting
events more enjoyable.