The words courage and bravery are often overused in a sporting world that likes to idolise its athletes, but in the case of Kilsyth Cobras player Jeremy Tyndall, they’re very much fitting.
In 2012, a 16 year-old Tyndall had just won the Victorian Junior Motocross Championships, in the process qualifying for the national championships.
He was flying high, only moments away from realising his dream of becoming a Junior National champion; but it was the national championships that Tyndall suffered a life-changing injury that would see him lose the use of his legs.
“I crashed and got run over, I wasn’t too sure what was really happening,” Tyndall said.
“I was in a lot of shock. I tried to get up and I couldn’t.
“I wasn’t really sure what the full extent was. I remember saying to my mum, “Will I be able to go on school camp the next week?” Because I was really looking forward to it.
“It wasn’t until a few weeks later where I actually sort of realised that I’m not going to get the full use of my legs back.”
Despite being shocked by the diagnosis he was given by doctors, Tyndall likes to remain positive.
“I’m a T10 paraplegic,” he said, “That basically means that my spinal cord was crushed and that’s just left me with no feeling or movement from my belly button downwards.
“It was a shock afterwards but you deal with it, that’s life. You get on with it so it’s not the end of the world.”
After such a life-changing accident, it would be fair to expect someone in Tyndall’s position to give up their sporting dreams, but Tyndall had other ideas.
After beginning his rehabilitation, Tyndall decided he would not let being a paraplegic stop him from playing sport, and he developed an interest and ambition in becoming a wheelchair basketball player.
“I was pretty bored at the hospital, there wasn’t much to do and one of the guys that actually plays wheelchair basketball for Australia, Jannik Blair, got in contact with me and told me to come down to the court and have a bit of a shoot around with him,” Tyndall said.
Less than five years later, Tyndall, now 21, has been selected to represent Australia at the Under-23 Wheelchair Basketball World Cup in Torronto, Canada.
It is a remarkable achievement for anyone to represent their country, but doing so while facing such adversity requires a tremendous amount of that overused noun, bravery.
Tyndall continues to dream, now of representing his country in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
“It’s a long way away and a lot of things can happen between now and then, but that’s definitely the goal,” he said.
“Once you get a sniff of it, that you can potentially make it, it gives you the drive to want to get it done. It’ll be a real special thing to go to the Olympics.”
While he is continuously striving to achieve his sporting goals, Tyndall is also preparing a life off the court, studying a Bachelor of Education at La Trobe University in Bundoora.
“In four years once I’ve hopefully gotten my degree and passed, I want to move back home and hopefully get a job doing teaching there.”
And while he has accepted that he will most-likely never walk again, Tyndall believes that there is no harm in dreaming.
“At the moment, it’s not looking too good but you never know,” he said.
“With the way modern medicine’s looking at the moment, I’ve seen some things are looking pretty positive for the future, that I possibly could walk again, so hopefully that happens.”
Tyndall will be flying to Canada with the rest of the Australian team next Monday for the World Cup that commences on the 8th of June and finishes on the 16th.