Gypsy Wright, Montana McLennan, Wayne Horkings, Savanna Phillips, Namaala Slabb at Fingal Head public school for the injury prevention program. Photo: John Gass / Daily News
Gypsy Wright, Montana McLennan, Wayne Horkings, Savanna Phillips, Namaala Slabb at Fingal Head public school for the injury prevention program. Photo: John Gass / Daily News John Gass

Man breaks back and warns kids what not to do

FINGAL Head Public School students learnt how to keep their backs safe during a presentation from Spinal Education Awareness Team last week. 

Presenter Wayne Horkings, who has spinal cord injuries and uses a wheelchair, was there to talk about spinal injuries and to tell the children what could happen if you break your neck or back.

"There is no cure for a spinal cord injury, you can't undo the permanent, lifelong damage to your spinal cord," Mr Horkings said.

To start the presentation Mr Horkings tells his own story on how he ended up in a wheelchair.

At 17 years old he went to a party, he was the nominated driver and didn't drink that night.

After a while everyone decided to go to another party so Mr Horkings and his five friends got into the car and headed off.

Half way there they had a pit stop and when Mr Horkings got back to the car everything changed, it wasn't his car and one of the guys wanted his girl friend to drive.

"Peer pressure took over I was the youngest so I handed over the keys," he said.

Two minutes later going up the hill doing 160klm missed a curve the car going through the air end over end.

Everyone was taken to the hospital the two in front had minor injuries the two in back with no seatbelts died and Mr Horkings who had his seat belt on had a broken neck a brain injury and 4 years in the hospital.

After the presentation Mr Horkings let the children ask him questions about spinal injuries like how does he drive, how does he dress and anything else they want to know.

"I stress to children that a split-second action like swinging on their chairs or diving into the water without checking how deep it is can cause them to be paralysed for the rest of their lives," he said.

"Simple precautions like always wearing a seatbelt, walking into any body of water to check its depth and always wearing a helmet while riding a bike may save these young people from a life time of using a wheelchair."

More than 1.5 million Queensland school children have seen a presentation from SEAT since the program, began 26 years ago.



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