“I just want people to see me as me and approach me like any other person,” Cody Everton shares. When he was 15 years old, he broke his neck while playing rugby and has been using a wheelchair ever since, “I’m still the same, nothing has changed,” he shares.
Even though he had his accident from playing rugby, his love for sports kept him going and helped him to be where he is today. “My greatest accomplishment would have to be making it to the New Zealand wheelchair rugby team,” he says. He’s been part of the Wheel Blacks for about 3 and a half years now.
He has learned to be more independent by trying to do things on his own rather than give up. His teammates have played a part by challenging him to be more independent. “I won’t be here, independence wise, if I don’t have wheelchair rugby,” he shares. “I love sports, I’ve always loved it…Sports is pretty much my life. I don’t know what I’ll do without it.” It is also the love and concern he got from his friends and family that helped him through coping with his disability. Surrounding yourself with the right kinds of positive support is a solid foundation for pushing the limits of your independence.
“I have friends and family with me 24/7 after my accident, so I really had no time to think about the negatives…They’ve been amazing throughout the entire process.”
“I think a lot of people think we can’t do things for ourselves…people think that we’re super disabled, but you know we like doing things ourselves,” he says. “I hate asking for help…it’s just not what I’m used to,” he explains, but if helped is required, he’s not afraid to ask for it. It’s about having a clear sense of your abilities. “Go back to being positive if you’re in my situation. Just stay strong and…don’t neglect yourself from the people trying to help because they are trying to help and they are there for you.”
Share this post with someone dealing with acquired disabilities at a young age to show what’s possible!