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Guest Speaker from the Paraplegic Benefit Fund

This term the year 10 Health Education classes were lucky enough to have a guest speaker speak from the Paraplegic Benefit Fund. The program aims to educate young Australians about the very real consequences of unsafe behaviour on the road. Jodie Nikolic was inspiring to watch as she detailed the events that resulted in her being a C4 paraplegic, and immobile from the waist down.

Before the accident, Jodie was your typical Aussie kid- she loved the outdoors and excelled in the sporting arena- eventually leading to her following a career in nutrition and the physical wellbeing of others. By her 20’s, Jodie was at the top of her game; winning triathlons and duathlons at an international level.

However one morning whilst cycling with a group of fellow athletes in preparation for the 2011 South East Asia Games triathlon, she was struck by a driver who was fatigued, on his phone and well over the legal blood alcohol content. The force of the impact sent her into the air, and when she landed she broke the C4 vertebrae in her neck. After many months in hospital, and learning that she would never be able to walk again, Jodie took a pragmatic approach, and made it her mission to educate young drivers so that she can guide them to take a few seconds to consider their actions and how it can effect not only themselves but others on the roads.

Her presentation was extremely engaging as she talked about the ‘fatal five’ and how they are the main causes of permanent injury or death on Australian roads, these being speeding, intoxication, failure to wear a seatbelt, driver fatigue and distraction. Three of which the driver who struck Jodie was guilty of, emphasizing the significance that failure to remain safe on the roads has. This experience was definitely beneficial to all involved and it has helped us understand the harsh reality of driving.

Written by Madeleine Redhead (Year 10)