You can say that again. A superman dive off slippery rocks ended with a bone shattering crack. Jezza’s neck shattered at C5 and C6, his lungs collapsed and he very nearly drowned in the waterfall. Surviving this was remarkable, waking up from a coma one month later miraculous.
It takes a strong mind to go through something on this scale and still come out on the other side confident and happy within oneself. It was a rough ride for the 11 months of rehab in a Swiss hospital and the two years that followed .
“I was incredibly independent and going from that sort of background to becoming a C5 tetraplegic, losing all your muscles, losing all the power to do what you want when you want to do, without having to wait for people was brutal.”
Ironically, Jezza’s risk taking experience had prepared him well for the mind game that quadriplegia is.
“I had to learn how to breathe, how to brush my own teeth, all these little things… It’s a big hurdle to get across, but as humans we adapt.”
Jezza doesn’t recall hitting rock bottom. Instead he was too busy looking up. He took little steps, knowing they’d lead to bigger achievements. And top of his list was was getting back into the outdoors.
But he was soon disappointed. He found there was a lack of infrastructure and support making it difficult for someone like him to get some outdoor adventure. This is when he started his non-profit organisation Makingtrax. The goal. Make adventure tourism inclusive for all.
“You have to get out there, you have to enjoy it, and you have to be able to ask for help.”
Jezza also discovered you need the right equipment, and some of it just wasn’t readily available. The answer? Build your own.
One of those adaptions was a fibreglass buggy so that wheelchair users can paraglide solo.
Jezza maintains you do need to take a few risks in life to get what you want out of it, and in his world the risks he takes are totally worth it.