Paraplegic shares painful story to warn students

FORMER local and Australian wheelchair basketball and tennis representative Brendan Stroud has visited Maffra Secondary College VCAL students to raise awareness of the implications of distracted driving and fatigue.

At 22 years of age, Stroud was involved in a single vehicle accident which left him a paraplegic.

Visiting Tasmania for a working holiday, Stroud completed his work before letting loose, not having much sleep.

With fatigue setting in, he fell asleep at the wheel at 4am, just five minutes from home.

“It scared the hell out of me,” he said.

“I was an athlete, playing football, boxing, taekwondo and was able to run.

“I couldn’t do that anymore.

“I am turning a negative into a positive by educating people.”

His accident hasn’t been the only road trauma pain that Stroud has had to experience, with his mother, seven-year-old nephew and friends all losing their life on the road because of fatigue or distraction.

Stroud took students through a wheelchair basketball skills session at the completion of his presentation.

Stroud also put UnitingCare’s ‘So Wat’ and ‘Awesome Girls’ program through their paces in the final session of their wheelchair basketball program.

Participants enjoyed learning the rules and basic skills of how to play the game, while adapting to playing sport from a wheelchair during the six week program.

For more on Stroud’s story and some handy hints, visit

For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.