September 7, 2012
"The thousands of people who sustain a serious or catastrophic injury in the UK each year can take true inspiration from the success of the
2012 Paralympics," said
A specialist serious
who himself was spinally injured as a teenager, Jonathan has hailed the magnificent performance of Team GB's Paralympic athletes and said that the popularity and success of the Games had emphasised and underlined the fact that a serious injury was something that could be overcome.
2012 was widely perceived as one of the greatest Olympic Games of all time, if not the greatest," he said, "so it is only fitting that the Paralympics has also surpassed all public expectation. The origins of the Paralympics lie in rehabilitating individuals who had sustained a serious, life-changing injury, and I can't think of a more inspiring demonstration that injuries are not 'the end of the line' than what we are currently witnessing with the achievements of the athletes this past week."
An associate with Fentons Solicitors LLP, Jonathan was recently re-elected Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Spinal Injuries Association, (SIA) the national organisation in the UK supporting people living with and affected by spinal cord injury. Jonathan is a tetraplegic following an accident in 1988 when, aged 14, he dived into the shallow end of a swimming pool, striking his head on the bottom.
A first brush with the Games
"The impact broke my neck at C5/6 and I was instantly rendered paralysed and a wheelchair user," he said. "I was treated and rehabilitated at the Regional Spinal Injuries Centre in
. It was here that I had my first brush with the spirit of the Paralympics."
Jonathan explained that each year newly injured patients from the 11 Spinal Injuries Centres in the UK - eight in
and one each in
- come together for the Inter-Spinal Unit Games at the National Spinal Injury Centre, Stoke Mandeville. The event takes its inspiration from the Stoke Mandeville Games, the sporting competition organised by Dr
to coincide with the opening of the 1948 Olympic Games and which evolved into the Paralympics as we know them today.
"During my rehabilitation, I took part as a member of the team from Southport Spinal Injury Centre," said Jonathan. "I remember playing table tennis against another young man who was also tetraplegic. We had very similar injuries and although we both still had the use of our arms we had reduced strength and dexterity in our hands. We both had to have the bats strapped into our hands for grip and I soon realised that being right-handed, a backhand stroke to my opponent's forehand was virtually unplayable.