Royal Rehab resident Dean Smith is overcoming the odds

Northern Sydney Wellbeing Officers have been visiting the Royal Rehab’s Spinal & Brain Injury Units in Ryde for a number of years and recently broadened their activities to a different type of Royal Rehab operations by visiting a Community Lifestyle Support Home at Ermington, where five handicapped clients reside with appropriate carer support.

Norm Pounder, Ken Vessey and Fred Jackson, with the assistance of Royal Rehab Operations Manager, Jenna Nowlan, visited Dean Smith, who had been seriously injured in a motor cycle accident in 1990 near the Spit Bridge, Sydney.

Unfortunately, Dean suffered severe spinal, head, shoulder injuries plus broken ribs and punctured lungs, resulting in him becoming a T5-T6 paraplegic. Since the accident, Dean had been treated in several locations but had been at the Ermington Support Home since 2010.

Dean had migrated from England in 1987 and was granted Australian Citizenship in 1989. He stated he loved his life in Australia having been in the printing industry before his accident and post-accident he had been a presenter with the Brain Injury Association, where he spoke on his injuries & recovery. He was interested in music, going out on excursions to local shopping centres and watching NRL matches on TV, especially his favourite team the Sea Eagles, who he hoped to see play at Lottoland Oval one day.

It was impossible to not be moved by Dean’s spirit & courage, as has been our experience with other paraplegics we have visited and we presented him with a Men of League polo shirt and cap in recognition of his sheer determination and support of rugby league. We had hoped to meet a fellow resident Kevin Reeves, who we were told was a fanatical St.George/Illawarra supporter but he was out on an excursion and we hope see him in the future.

Once again the care, attention and excellent surroundings was of the highest order at the facility.

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