James became a quadriplegic as a result of an accident in Zambia while travelling around Africa.
On the 1 November 2008, while waiting to go Tiger fishing on the mighty Zambezi River, on a very hot day, James merely fainted whilst sitting on a stool, falling backward onto hard sand.
The result of this seemingly innocuous occurrence was catastrophic. The impact of the fall severely bruised his spinal cord and broke his C4 and C5 vertebrae, leaving James with voluntary movement only from his shoulder up.
Due to the remoteness and inaccessibility of the location, it was 30 hours before James reached fully qualified medical care. This delay worsened his condition by causing fluid to collect in his lungs, leading to respiratory complications.
James was airlifted to hospital in Johannesburg in South Africa where he was placed in intensive care. During this time James’ condition stabilised and his father Roger spent six hours a day accelerating the rehabilitation process by tirelessly massaging and stretching James muscles.
After five weeks James was given the all clear from the Johannesburg medical team to fly back to Australia. Back in Sydney, James spent a short time in the Royal North Shore Spinal Unit before being transferred to the Moorong Unit of the Royal Rehabilitation Centre in Ryde, Sydney for intensive rehabilitation. The focus of James’ treatment is currently intensive physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, massage and stretching.