Interview: Bronte Holland

This week we catch up with Bronte Holland to find out how his recovery is going and about moving out of rehab.
Author: Garry Morrow

Author: Garry Morrow


It has been almost five months since up and coming motocross rider Bronte Holland was paralysed in a practice accident. Holland was one of the hottest properties on the motocross scene as his riding began to mature and he had gained the speed to make him a genuine contender at any race in the country. His accident sent shock waves through the Australian motocross community and the impact of his accident has seen a huge awareness of spinal injury in the sport. Whilst for many of us the time has flown for Bronte it has been a long slow rehabilitation process with days filled with highs and demoralising lows. Currently entering the final days of his program at the Talbot Rehabilitation Centre in Kew, Victoria, the Hurricane is about to make his way back into day to day life so we stopped by to have a chat with him on some of the finer details of where he is at. Insider: How long have you been in here Bronte: My crash was Feb 13th and I was in the Austin Hospital for a month so I guess three and a half months and provided everything goes to plan I am out of here on July 18th. Insider: so when you say if provided everything goes alright, what do you mean by that? Bronte: Just make sure I have got everything, equipment wise, so that I am confident to leave. I have pretty much gotten everything sorted like a place to live and that. Just all the little things but I am pretty much right to go. Insider: So it's not a physical thing that keeps you in here still. Bronte: No, it's not a physical thing anymore, just really getting all those little things sorted out. Insider: So physically where do you go from here? Bronte: Well, no one really knows. I shouldn't be as good as what I am from what the Doctors have said. It wouldn't matter anyway if I am as good as I am or not, I will still leave on July 18th, but I will still keep doing rehab when I get out of here. Insider: So is rehab an ongoing/never ending thing? Bronte: It's mainly just more about being as independent or as independent as I can really. Things like getting out of bed, going to the toilet, having a shower, being able to dress yourself, using a wheelchair properly, just things like that. Insider: So medically from now on is it all about staying fit and healthy as you can etc. Bronte: Yes, I'm going to have my own gym set-up or whatever which I think I have got sorted. Then I have just got to organise my physio, and hydrotherapy and then keep working with the people I have been working with in the city like my natural healing therapist, my chiropractor and so on it's just going to be a full week with all that. Insider: Does this process every end? Bronte: Not really, I guess it doesn't. I am an incomplete quadriplegic so things can always keep getting better and if I sit around and do nothing and, I guess, sit around and accept this is the way it will be then I am not going to get any better so if I keep working at it and I think things will keep getting better. Insider: When you say you’re an incomplete quadriplegic, what exactly is that? Bronte: It means that your spinal chord didn't get severed basically, they class you as complete if your spinal chord gets severed. All they can go off is an MRI, doctors don't really know. Quadriplegic, sometimes if your lucky you can move one of your arms one of my arms was really, really bad and my hand was really week. I couldn't open a packet of chips or hold a fork or feed myself for the first couple of weeks but they have come a long way now. My arms are now much better, my right arm is a little bit weaker but my hands are still probably only 75-80%. I have got no feeling from above my nipples or down the inside of my arms. For my level of injury and what's happened and how long it's been everyone says I am really good and doctors say I am doing really well but to me I am not going to be better until I am up and walking or a lot better than I am now. Insider: With rehabilitation, well the live-in rehab, almost over have you thought about the year ahead and "The outside world"? Bronte: I think for the first 6 to 12 months it's going to be intense rehab still. But I think I am going to be able to work my life in around that. It's really going to be just like training for racing, you are going to have your priorities and some things are always going to come second. The main focus is always going to be getting myself as healthy as I can and staying healthy. Even now with my body I have got to learn what I can and can't eat, what I can and can't do, how much I can do during the day and so on. So the first twelve months is really going to be about learning I guess. Insider: How do you feel about going back to the track and getting involved in the "Sport" again, have you thought about how you will broach this much? Bronte: The track; I guess is going to be hard to go back to a race meeting and watch everyone race and not being able to get out there. So I think it may take me a while to get comfortable to getting back out there. Hanging out with the boys and that is no problem now, just hanging out with my close mates at the house or whatever is cool but it's still tough going out in public, going out to dinner and just not being normal and things. Insider: Are you just conscious of the fact you are in a chair? Bronte: I think so, it just makes life a lot more difficult for me as I was so active. Insider: Does that come more from you or experiences you have had so far? Bronte: I just don't enjoy being in a wheel chair, it's just not me, I don't see myself as being in it as a permanent thing I guess. I guess it's like anything you see someone with a disability and you cant help looking at them but for me that's just something I am going to have to get used too. Insider: I understand what your saying and I am not in your shoes but I think people would stare at an ugly fat person more than someone in a chair these days. Bronte: *Laughs* I think it's just such a change for me really, I am just more conscious of it. It's just going to take time I think. Insider: There has been a huge awareness of spinal injury since your accident along with Ernesto Fonseca and Doug Henry. Almost all the Pro riders are wearing neck braces now, are you aware of the type of effect your injury has had? Bronte: Just before my accident people had started wearing them but it hadn't really come into my mind hugely to wear a neck brace but now I think because it has happened to me I think it has sunk in a lot more. I think a lot of freestyle riders in America are starting to wear them and think you have really got to wear them now because the standard is so high and it's just getting stepped up more and more and the levels are getting higher, riders are going faster and faster. There is definately more chances of having big crashes so the more protection you have the better. Insider: So how hard is it for you to plan further down the track at this stage, long term I guess. Bronte: You know that's a hard one. I don't know what's going to happen, I definately don't see myself in a wheelchair further down the track but for the short term the next year or two I know I am going to be. Anything can happen and I have gotten a lot better than anyone thought I would already. The people I am working with all think I can get a lot better still so I guess at the moment it's all about doing everything I can for me and staying positive and then the future will take care of itself. Insider: These places (Rehabilitation) are pretty depressing you would have to be looking forward to getting out of here. Bronte: Definately, definately, but at the same time it's a little bit scary because it's your safe haven in here, you have a nurse on call if you need something, been out in reality again I guess is going to be tough. There is no shortage of support though when I do. My Mum and Dad, my brother and all the boys, everyone is 100% behind me, it's just me really. I can't wait to get out of here but at the same time it's going to be tough as well. Insider: Well you have wheels now - Bronte picked up a new car last week - so I guess you will be out and about a bit more. Bronte: The hardest part is going to be getting the wheelchair in and out of the car by myself so for a little while I am going to have to have someone with me. There are a few benefits though you get the good parks *Laughs* Insider: Although we have talked about some of the down side, your defiantly positive and focused. Bronte: I can see a lot of people find it easy to sit around and do nothing. I see a lot of people in here that are like that, I guess I am lucky because I moved out of home at 16 and learnt to fend for myself so that grounding has made things a lot easier in here. Being fit and training for riding has been a good background because you treat it all as sort of the same thing I a still training but for something different now and I just gotta learn to suck it up and do it. My aim is to walk in some way, whether it be with a cane or a limp or something. I know it's not going to be tomorrow but I am not giving up on the hope that one day I will walk again. At the same time you have got to be realistic and I know I may not but I am never going to give up working towards it. I don't want to be sitting around doing nothing. No one here thought I would do half the stuff I can do now. My aim from being here was to fit in and not have to really have to have anything special in place for me. For example I can go to a friends place and nothing has to be changed, I can sit on their couch, I just want to be as normal as I can, if I have to get around in a wheelchair I still want to be able to use everything else normally. Insider: Well I guess people have a bit of an indication of what you are going through and where your at. I just wanted to say before we sign off that a lot of people are behind you and always ask about you and we all hope that your out and about and hanging with us again as quick as possible. Bronte: I'd like to thank My family and friends for all there support also to my fans and people for their messages of encouragement and my sponsers for still sticking by me its hard to list everyone as there are so many people who help out in so many ways so to everyone thank you.

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