Once An Athlete, Always An Athlete

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Cody was paralyzed in a rugby accident when he was 15 years old, but that didn’t stop him from being embracing his inner athlete. Rugby may be the reason he uses a wheelchair, but he has found a home on New Zealand’s national wheelchair rugby team, the Wheel Blacks.

“Coming from a sporty background, that was something I was going to do even after my injury. [Wheelchair rugby] just happened to be the first sport the guys got me into.”

He was introduced to wheelchair rugby while he was still in the spinal unit. “Ever since then I never looked back,” he shares. He now plays alongside his mentor from when he was first hurt.

Overcoming early challenges

It was hard for Cody at first when he started training for wheelchair rugby. Holding onto dreams of walking again, he ultimately decided to focus on the present moment. “But…as time has gone on, I…thought positivity was going to be the best thing and moving on,” he shares. “I’m just thankful I started playing sports and it really has helped me through my recovery.”

“It’s brought back friends and the comraderie…the bond between me and the guys. We’re all good mates,” Cody shares. The team and the sport have brought value to his life. “It’s really enjoyable to be in a group…I love hanging with the guys,” he shares. “Also, winning, nothing beats winning. I always strive to be better than before and that’s something I always go by.”

He went from making it to the First Fifteen for his rugby squad to making it on the national team for wheelchair rugby. He has come really far with his athletic career, he and his team had the opportunity to go on tour and travel internationally for training and competitions. “It’s really exciting for me and the team,” he shares.

“I’ve got really supportive friends and family…We all come from a sporty background so they understand that I got to go away and I’ve always been like that so nothing has really changed. They love what I’m doing.”

If you’re hesitant about getting into sports, Cody advises that “the main thing is just be positive,” he explains. “You know there are things you can’t do, but you can slowly progress to that and it’s all about patience,” Cory advises.

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