Being a father with a disability was one of the biggest adjustments Darren Houghton had to make after his accident. In 2014, Darren fell off the balcony of his house and became a C4 incomplete quadriplegic, leaving him with limited use of his left arm and legs, and paralysis of his right arm.
After the accident, Darren had to re-learn how to perform day-to-day tasks like drinking and putting on clothes clothes. One of his biggest adjustments, he shares, was “to accept life as a father with a spinal cord injury.” Finding alternative methods to participate in activities with his young daughter was a challenge he faced.
During his stay in Royal Rehab’s Spinal Injury Unit, Darren joined their adaptive sport and recreation (Return2Sport) programs, and was immediately “hooked.”
“I began cycling regularly with their assistance and it’s made an incredible difference.”
After testing out different bicycles, Darren has finally found bikes that have since accompanied him up hills and around Narrabeen Lake. “It’s been an absolute life changer just being out and about,” he shares.
Since then, Darren has also returned to one of his passions: golf. His schedule now includes cycling twice a week, surfing, practising yoga, golfing, and much more.
“Having the opportunity to get back to sport and recreation has given me the chance to feel connected to my life, family and friends.”
The road to rehabilitation is not always easy, Darren admits. However, through it all, he has received the support of his wife, daughter, and “the positivity and patience of the Royal Rehab clinicians.” It is the constant encouragement from people that boost his progress.
“You have to accept this new reality without dwelling on it too much.”
Darren hopes that more support, be it emotional or financial, from the public and community programs will help more individuals with disabilities “remain an active part of [their] family and [their] community.”
With the support he has received from the community, Darren is more focused on his mission: “I’m just trying to find a way to get things working again. And everything I do is for my wife and daughter.”
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