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It Only Takes A Moment

Pictured are two Notre Dame students with PBF’s Carl, Matt, Symon (with Henry) and Helen.
Cottesloe Beach, WA
Karijini National Park, WA

Just one moment to lose everything you hold of value in your life.

Peer pressure, risk taking behaviour and a blase attitude towards your own safety and that of your friends can have a huge impact on a young person’s life and their future plans.

Notre Dame University in Fremantle Western Australia attracts students from all over the world, in particular the USA.  At the beginning of each semester, when these new students arrive in the west for 6 months, they participate in a positive health promotion that looks at the importance of drinking safely, especially in and around water.

PBF Australia’s aqua presenters share their personal stories with these students.  Stories that involve aquatic accidents and the life-long consequences of poor judgement.

Carl was a 17 year old international student from Japan, who broke his neck when he dove into a shallow wave at Cottesloe Beach.  Matt was an adventurous 21 year old, who fell when he was climbing above the gorge at Karijini National Park.  These gentlemen are quadriplegics and they share their deeply personal stories of struggle and resilience with the students. The desired outcome is that these students will stop and think before they drink around and/or dive into the beautiful waters of Western Australia.

The Notre Dame program involves students sitting in and trialing a manual wheelchair, whilst navigating curbs and carrying a glass of water.  Students are also given the opportunity to attempt to clean each other’s teeth.  A personal hygiene ritual for able bodied people, however for a quadriplegic without hand function it is a difficult chore.  These activities combine to demonstrate the daily challenges of living with a spinal cord injury.  By sharing PBF present’s stories we illustrate just how easily a spinal cord injury can occur, in particular when entering the water after consuming alcohol.

The PBF Aqua Program is sponsored by Fremantle Ports.  Spinal cord injuries average 141 per year in Western Australia and 10% of these are caused by aquatic related injuries.  The Fremantle Ports sponsorship of our program contributes greatly to PBF Australia fulfilling our mission of reducing the impact and incidence of spinal cord injury in Australia.

If you would like one of our presenters to share their story with your students please contact us here.

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