By Ashleigh Stevenson Original Story Here
A former up-and-coming motocross champion who broke his back during a crash is aiming to represent Australia at the Tokyo Paralympics in a different sport.
Blake Colleton, 18, from Murwillumbah in northern New South Wales, fell during a motocross race in Victoria last year, resulting in paraplegia from the chest down.
He has taken up handcycling as part of his rehabilitation and is aiming to compete at the 2020 Paralympics in Japan.
Mr Colleton said he did not realise the extent of his injury when it first happened.
“It wasn’t too bad at first and then it sort of hit me a little bit when I was in hospital what actually had happened to myself,” he said.
“I was still happy with life and knew that it was just a change in direction – I just have to move on.
“I need to keep working hard and doing it for myself – not anyone else, just me.
“I was racing motocross professionally before the accident, so it’s just a change in direction for me.
“I definitely want to get to the Paralympics.”
In January, Mr Colleton and his mother Karen travelled to Panama in Central America so he could undergo stem cell treatment.
The therapy involved the intravenous and intrathecal (into the spinal fluid) injection of mesenchymal stem cells from human umbilical cord tissue and his own bone marrow.
The treatment is not available in Australia.
Karen Colleton said they hoped to return to Panama for a second round of treatment later this year.
“He’s got a lot more core muscle and lower back control, which helps so much when you’re a paraplegic,” Ms Colleton said.
“We’re hoping the second lot of treatment will move the injury lower to maybe bring back bladder and bowel function and lower body function.”