Ben was injured at work as a track work rider in 2017 when he came off a horse in a collision and sustained a spinal cord injury. Ben’s injury resulted in his inability to walk and he began to adapt to life with his manual wheelchair.

With motivation to make the most of his situation, and the support of his wife, community and NIISQ-funded rehabilitation team, Ben has returned to driving and adapted his skills to return to working in the horse racing industry. He also engages in important advocacy work and has been able to share his story of recovery to inspire others in the horse racing industry.

“I couldn’t thank NIISQ enough for all their support. Everyone I have met over the years has been so fantastic. I can’t imagine having gone through this without them. They’ve been a blessing,” said Ben.

After establishing his daily routine and learning to independently manage his injury, Ben spoke to his NIISQ Support Planner about how he had planned to look towards retirement in future years but was not mentally prepared to spend retirement just sitting at home. Prior to his injury, Ben was a keen golfer who participated in a regular local competition and could often be found on the course with his family and friends.

Utilising a local occupational therapist experienced in spinal cord injury clients, Ben was able to successfully trial a ParaGolfer. A ParaGolfer is a type of power drive wheelchair with sit to stand functionality that enables suitable users to engage in standing activities, such as golf. This equipment met Ben’s needs to access his pre-injury social activities, to access off-road terrains such as the golf course, and to provide a weight-bearing option to assist in management of his lower-limb spasticity. NIISQ was able to considering the clinical information alongside our guidelines to make a statutory decision to fund Ben’s own ParaGolfer.

Ben sent us a video of himself out and about playing golf at his local course with his ParaGolfer. When we asked how he was going with his new equipment he said, “Oh it’s great. It’s amazing. Something I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to do again. It’s really enhanced my time with my wife and we have been coming out every week.”

Reuniting Ben with his local golfing community and favourite active past-time really stood to NIISQ’s purpose of empowering participants to live their best lives. Ben spoke of his local golf club and golf community stating, “They’ve been beautiful. They’ve gone to no ends to help us out.”

Ben in his ParaGolfer at the 9th hole of his local golf course!

Last updated: September 2022