Symon Still was only 24 years old when he broke his back in two places and became a partial quadriplegic. The ambitious physical education teacher and high-level triathlete was cycling to work and never imagined a moment of driver inattention could change his life forever.
Unfortunately, Symon’s story isn’t uncommon. On average, one Australian is permanently paralysed every day by a spinal cord injury (SCI) and not-for-profit PBF Australia are urging all to think about road safety during the summer holiday season.
Symon, now PBF Australia’s Injury Prevention Manager, shares his story and speaks out about the importance of road safety. He has inspired hundreds of men, women and children to rethink their behaviour, attitude and actions on the roads, throughout Perth and Regional WA.
“Road safety is an issue really close to my heart, because I used to be one of those people who thought something like this could never happen to me,” says Mr. Still. “But spinal cord injury does not discriminate, and it can happen to anyone – on the road, at work, at home or in the water. Once an injury like mine occurs, the damage is permanent. But with some awareness, this type of injury can be avoided.”
PBF are actively promoting a workplace road safety campaign before Christmas, reinforcing the “don’t drink and drive message” this holiday season. This program is delivered by a PBF presenter that has sustained a permanent spinal cord injury under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol and challenges participants to think carefully about the causes and consequences of road crashes.
Symon Still says SCI doesn’t only impact the injured person, it also affects friends and family and sometimes even a whole community. “Permanent spinal cord injury can have a devastating effect on friends and family members. Some families can face financial ruin from income loss and an increase in costs associated with treatment and living adjustments. The physical and emotional pain that one person can experience can be so great that it can lead to mental health issues, and higher rates of suicide,” he says.
“That’s why awareness and prevention are so important. Poor decision making can have devastating consequences so we urge all road users to take personal responsibility and make better choices on the road”.
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