Click on the links below for individual clients' personal experiences.
Bob (Robert) McSeveny - Thank you letter from a stroke victim
Lachlan Fyfe - Jockey
Laughing at Aphasia - Barry Cappe
Reflection on life with Aphasia - Dong Jun Hua
Frank Spiteri - Burns victim - ABCTV, 7:30 Report, 19 May 2009
By Geoff Prenter
When Kevin Wheatley was just 14 years old he wanted to have muscles on muscles. He wanted to be known as "Mr. Muscle."
"I am here today to warn all youngsters in their teenage years not to do what I did," said Kevin, a recent client at Royal Rehab.
Kevin recently had a left hip replacement and was at Royal Rehab to "get back on his feet."
"One down and two to go," is how Kevin described another upcoming hip replacement and a complete knee re-construction.
And, after that, more rehab followed by "pins in the wrists."
"All because I went over the top with my weight-lifting," he muses. "I was hell-bent on having a body that rippled with muscle."
Now aged 41, Kevin reflects on a muscle-bound career that won him a spate of body-building titles including the 1989 Junior Mr Sydney and runner-up in the 1989 Australasian title.
"I warn young men of the perils of weight-lifting," he says.
"Do your weights but don't let your ego get the better of you. Don't wind up as I have-a body of pain.
"Always seek supervision and remember "less is better." Don't lift weights that you feel are too heavy."
Kevin lavished praise on the physio team at Royal Rehab.
"What a fantastic bunch they are,"' he said. "I was treated with respect and I believe all the rehab will enable me to return to the gym, but this time, with a far more moderate and less ego-driven approach."
Kevin took up weights when he was 14 after his father had bought him a home gym. He played soccer for NSW but was told he was overweight and that he should join a gym.
He joined a gym in Ryde and at one stage was leg-pressing 1,000lbs and then, at 28, leg-pressing 1,600 lbs.
He began work in the Ryde gym and stayed 12 years.
Now he wants to go to schools and teach and lecture teenagers on the highs and lows of weight-lifting.
"Despite the operations and the rehab I have a passion for weight-lifting,"he says. "But I have learned the hard way that less is best."
ONE FALL TOO MANY - The story of Lachlan Fyfe
By Geoff Prenter
A young man and his horses…love has no greater depth.
Lachlan Fyfe is 23, a jockey by choice who was admitted to the Royal Rehab Brain Injury unit in January this year. He had suffered a heavy fall while riding in a barrier trial at Hawkesbury. He had previously fallen from a horse on no less than 200 occasions (Lachlan's stats). Six of those falls were in races, two on the one day! Yet, nary a broken bone.
"I guess that's the reason I kept riding - I didn't break a bone in any of those falls," he says, reflecting on a topsy-turvy career.
But on 15 December last year Lachlan's luck ran out. He fell and was in a coma for 10 days at Royal North Shore before being transferred to Royal Rehab where he spent 16 weeks. During this time Lachlan attended physio sessions, was treated by occupational therapists and engaged in speech therapy and memory therapy programs.
You hear of jockeys riding horses when they are still in short pants. Lachlan was 17 when he first threw a leg over a thoroughbred.
Why a jockey?
"I was desperate to leave school and because of my size the only job I could handle was to be a jockey," he said. "Every morning I would ride 12 horses in trackwork and for riding in a race I was paid $130 each time."
"The risks are always there but you don't dwell on them. I remember a horse I rode at Murwillumbah suffered a heart attack and threw me over the fence.
"And one day at a Gold Coast meeting I fell twice. The saddle slipped both times.
"I rode a double once at Canterbury but I rate Randwick the best of all the tracks."
Lachlan hopes to ride again, yes, by breaking in unraced horses!
"I might also take a look at cattle mustering but I have nothing against horses. They are a part of me," he says. "I am doing plenty of physio and my memory is improving. I have been very well looked after at Royal Rehab. The staff has been great. I probably should try to tip them a winner!"
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