“I wasn’t even planning on playing rugby,” Cody says. “I went down there not expecting to make it.” In one of the games, he ended up in an awkward tackle that broke his neck. Cody was on the ground, conscious, but unable to move. “I started to panic because I didn’t know what was going on,” he said. “The coach said he saw some fear in my eyes, and he ran on and stopped the play.”
Cody’s journey was documented from his earliest days in rehab in New Zealand to his departure 5 months later.
”At first all I’d say is ‘I’m going to walk’ and now it’s starting to get to the point where there’s a chance, but there’s a chance I’m going to be in a chair, and I’ve got to accept that either way.”
See the promo and more details below:
In the full episode above, Cody begins the journey of life after spinal cord injury and fights to be able to do as much as possible on his own. This has been made easier with the guidance of his mentor, Sholto, who is also paralyzed.
His friends have also stuck by his side, but it was tough at first. “I couldn’t bring myself to see him for the first month,” one of his friends admits. “it just ripped all of us apart.” Cody still has his solid group of close friends who have also found ways to adapt to his situation. “The mates are starting to become a bit normal with me,” he shares, “being like how we were.” His friends set a great example for anyone who is dealing with the paralysis of a friend.
Jump to 14:18 for Sholto’s thoughts on getting through down days and maintaining friendships. He has great advice for anyone adjusting to life after spinal cord injury.
Jump to 15:50 for a look at Cody practicing transfers in the gym, a key skill that he practices in the hopes of having more independence.
At 18:27, watch Sholto coach Cody through pushing up a ramp at the rehabilitation center.
At 19:28, he gets more advice from Sholto about dealing with the real world and dating. Sholto’s insights would benefit anyone adapting to a spinal cord injury.
As Cody preps to return home, he keeps in mind a quote: “Don’t let what you can’t do affect what you can do.” At 23:15, he makes the journey back home, ready for the new challenges with aspirations of becoming a Wheel Black on New Zealand’s wheelchair rugby team. “I love challenges,” he says. “I’m happy to come across something that I can’t do and try it again later on.”
“I’m sitting down all the time, but apart from that, I’m still the same.”
You can follow his transition home in part two of his story.