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After a motorcycle accident in 2006, left Scott Priestley in a coma for 10 weeks, doctors told his family that if he even survived he would be unlikely to walk again.
That date, ‘November 7th 2006, took away a large chunk of my life’ said Scott, ‘I had just started a new job at a motorcyle shop near Newcastle 9 days before, and I was riding home from work. I approached the scene of a recent car accident, where they had just hosed down the road, but there was still oil and debris from the accident left on the road and my bike just slipped’
‘I was an experienced rider, so it wasn’t a case of inexperience, it was simply a case of a slippery surface. My bike slipped and a power pole stopped me.’
‘Before the accident I had ridden motorbikes for Australia. I raced for the Ducati Bears Team (Bears being an acronym for British, European, American Racing Supporters).
The accident left Scott with (amongst other injuries), in a wheelchair and with an acquired brain injury. Occasionally when speaking to Scott, he says ‘oh sorry, can’t remember, acquired brain injury you know’.
Scott says his association with Sailors with disabilities began about 8 years ago, as a client, and then around 3 years ago he began to volunteer. ‘As a disabled person it feels good to give back as a volunteer’ he said and ‘besides that its heaps of fun!’. Scott now races in state titles and a few years back he took part in the Audi Challenge aboard SWD’s Wot Eva. ‘I think we came third in that race, I can’t quite remember, acquired brain injury you know’.
I’ve also sailed Kayle around Sydney Harbour, under the bridge, it was fantastic.
When asked about his ability aboard the boats when volunteering, he explained “I can stand up, and be mobile, but if its too busy onboard sometimes they need to just tie my wheel chair down to the floor, or I can scoot along the side of the boat and just sit. When I steer though, I can stand up, I just use the wheel to balance.
When reflecting about his accident and what it has meant to his life, he says the hardest part is that he cannot even remember his daughters being born, or the day he got married. His daughters are now aged 19 & 21, and are doing really well, obviously Scott's pride and joy.
Apart from Sailing, Scott is a photographer, below are a couple of his images, the first photograph is of Jude, the first Support Worker who cared for Scott after his accident.
'When I first met Jude', Scott said 'She asked me what had happened to me. When I told her she started crying, to which he said "Geez I'm not that ugly am I?" and Jude answered that she was crying because she had actually been at the accident scene, and had never expected that he would survive'.
The second image is of Scott's much loved daughters.
Thank you Scott for sharing your story, and thank you for volunteering with Sailors with disABILITIES!