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  • Mark Berridge

5 metres of confusion and exhaustion

On 10 March 2019 I crashed my bicycle. A few hours later I learned that the searing pain was caused by a severe spinal cord injury. I heard that I had very low prospects of walking normally again, that severely impacted movement was the most likely outcome. But it was uncertain, and I latched onto that uncertainty - if every spinal cord injury is unique, every recovery can be unique.

A successful 5 hour operation to insert 2 x 23cm rods into my back was my first hurdle, followed by the moment to moment grind of pursuing marginal improvement whilst limiting the impact of setbacks.

My first physio had me walk in parallel bars on Day 10. Covering 5 metres took about 40 seconds. It was scary, deflating. But I was moving forward one fraction at a time.

6 weeks later, as I struggled to walk on crutches, I asked about any hope of running again and heard that was not possible. 15 months later I shuffled a lap of an oval, just to prove I could.

This video provides a snippet of that walk and that "run".


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