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Video title: When your legs stop working overnight

Video duration: 4:55

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Video transcript

[Music playing]

My name is Henry Matthews and I am from Auckland. So I've been playing wheelchair rugby for... twenty five years now.

[Music volume rises]

[Music volume fades to background level]

How did I start? I... Just from a guy through...Through the um... spinal unit. You know, he says come along and have a go and I was... Went up and had a look, I was in my bed and looked at him and said, you're crazy, that's why I was like, you crazy guys, you know.

[Music volume rises]

[Music volume fades to background level]

The things they were doing was unbelievable. You know the, um, as in the... these guys smashing each other, falling out of chairs and... these guys were crazy I was going like, you've broken your necks, mate, why would you go and smash yourself around like that?

[Music stops]

I dunno, I just think, yeah that's the game, that's the game for me.

[Fast, upbeat music playing]

It's a game mixed in with ice hockey, um, ah, basketball, grid iron and handball.

So um, yeah, it's been invented by the Canadian veterans… who just picked up the ball and started throwing it around and everyone started crashing into each other and... oh, let's call this game murder ball!

You can have up to 12 people on a team but only… eight on a court, so four a side, and then subs is, like, ah, it's got to add up to eight points. Each person is graded on, um, muscle function… so it goes from a 3.5 is the highest, uh, grading, and the lowest grading from there down is the point-5 so, I'm classed as a point-5.

[Fast, upbeat music stops]

[Gentle music playing]

I had my accident when I was 18, up in Matauri Bay, ah diving off a rock and didn't check how deep the water was, ah, and broke my neck. I ended up AC four, five, six, ah incomplete break.

When I first ended up in wheelchair life was, took me two years to get, um used to my disability.

Was so hard, umm... didn't really wanna go out…  outdoors, just wanna stay inside. The first couple of years was denial. Why me? Um… Had a good job, and I was just on holidays [sigh] it's just um, yeah, I was in denial. No way. Like, I was fit, man. Love-loved my rugby, loved my league. And um, yeah, do something stupid is just… never thought I would, it would happen to me.

So, um, I had to learn to walk again, pretty much. To actually get up and, and um, you know, ah, actually get out there and try something and if it wasn't for a couple of guys, that, and ladies who come in and talk to ya, and say life is not over… unless you want it to be. Ah, and if it wasn't for them, I don't think I'd be here today.

The first two, the first year I was like what is going on here? Like, excuse me? Like, I'd go into a shop and ask for something and inst-… I'd have my caregiver with me… instead of asking me what I want they'll ask the caregiver, because they don't, they don't know what sort of disability I've got. They might think I've got a head injury or something. Yeah so those were the, sort of, the, ah barriers I had to overcome, a lot of them. Staring. A lot of staring. Aww, yeah. Just a lot of that and, like, when I was, before I had my accident I actually used to be scared of chairs I didn't, didn't know what to say so I know where they're coming from now

Interviewer: So what do you.. what do you say now to people that may feel like that?

Oh, I just say to them please, man, talk to them. Don't be afraid.

I met Sue at the, through the Spinal Unit and um, yeah, she, if it wasn't for her, um, yeah, I don't know where I'd be, yeah. Probably six feet under, I dunno. But, um, she's been, we've been married for 21 years now, and um, I've been in a chair for 28 years. So yeah, a lot of love there.

Um, I'd just like to say, um, you know to those out there that they're sitting at, in front of their TVs to get out and have a go at, at, uh, something they don't really know instead of staying inside watching all the good, good movies and that and um, get out and get some sunshine, go out and get proactive. Yeah there's plenty of time to sit in front of the TV.

So a lot of people that, in wheelchairs, you know they can do anything, if you put your mind to it.

[Music plays outro]

Last updated on Thursday, 30 May 2019

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