On the 31st of August 2014, Joel had a fall over a stair case and broke his C2 & C5 vertebrae which unfortunately caused some spinal cord damage, as well as fracturing some thoracic vertebrae and his sternum. He underwent a 6 hour surgery a few hours after the accident where they were able to stabilise his neck fractures and prevent any further spinal cord damage by inserting a titanium cage and fusing C4 to C6.
The injury that night has left Joel a C5 quadriplegic, meaning that there are still some messages getting through the spinal cord and the extent of his recovery is unknown. Joel is paralysed from the shoulders down, has no movement in his legs and his upper body can only activate his biceps, forearms and wrists.
With the injury originally occurring in Adelaide where Joel was working, he was brought to the Royal Adelaide Hospital where he stayed for 10 days, before being airlifted to Melbourne's Austin Hospital. He spent the next 11 months at The Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Hospital where he underwent extensive rehab sessions to further improve his skills and learn to adjust to life as a quadriplegic before moving home in August 2015.
Joel had been serving in the Australian Army for the past 5 years as a rifleman in 7RAR Adelaide when he had his accident. He had recently returned home from a 7 month deployment in Afghanistan in December 2013.
This page was set up for Joel's friends, family and followers to join him on his road to recovery and keep you updated and involved in his continuous rehab. Joel has a long journey ahead of him but despite this is strong, courageous and determined to walk again one day!