A recent holiday to the beautiful beaches on the far northern Queensland coastline has been the best medicine according to Tony as he continues his rehab.
“I had been pushing myself a bit hard at home while trying to do my share of the work as we have another busy stud season coming up at St Fort,” he said.
“There’s still a few sore spots on each side of my neck so we decided a short holiday break would be best.”
A track accident just before last Christmas almost claimed Tony's life when he was catapulted from the sulky and landed vertically on his head. The impact broke his neck between his c2 and c3 vertebrae.
While it has been a long and sometimes frustrating recovery process, Tony says many close friends as well as those in the harness racing industry had given him much needed support.
He also gained inspiration during a stay in Echuca Hospital after reading a book titled “When The Dust Settled.”
“It probably took me one and a half days to read it, but I honestly couldn’t put it down,” he said.
The book was written by Rob Cook, who was left paralysed after a helicopter accident in the Northern Territory. He plummeted 60 metres to the ground during a muster on one of Australia’s most remote cattle stations, Suplejack Downs Station, in 2008. The damage was instant as he dislocated his c4 vertebrae. http://www.robcook.com.au/
Tony said that after reading the book, he felt he had to get in contact with Rob.
“Rob actually wrote in his book that if he inspired one person, he’d be very happy - and I was certainly inspired, so I just got on the phone and rang him,” Tony said.
“That chat led him to invite us to look him up if ever we were near Bundaberg.
“We were lucky to spend a few hours with Rob during our recent short holiday and what an inspiration this guy is.
“His courage is unbelievable. His accident hasn’t prevented him from achieving whatever he wants to do - with the help of his wife Sarah, who is amazing.
“The only movement he has is virtually above his neck, so he’s certainly one tough bushie.”
Rob and his family moved from Suplejack Downs Station to Qld’s Bundaberg region four years ago where Rob is constantly trialling new devices to help injured farmers to keep working. This earnt him a Nuffield Scholarship in 2011.
"When the Dust Settles", by Rob Cook, is available at most bookstores.