Extra Special Valentine’s Day for National Wheelchair Rugby Player

Friday, February 14, 2014

For one young Melbourne couple, this Valentine’s Day will be particularly romantic. February 14 will be one week befre Jason Ellery, 27, marries his high school sweetheart Nicole Brockman, 26. 

The couple’s special day will be all the more momentous for what it signifies: a couple who have survived a devastating accident and come out on top, affections intact and facing the future together.

On April 25th 2011, Jason’s life changed forever, in a single moment. It was one of the last days of a snowboard holiday in Canada. “I remember the moment clearly. Something went wrong, my feet went from underneath me and I landed on my neck. I was unconsciousness for a moment, but then I  was aware that I was lying motionless, like a star-fish, on the snow.” 

After numerous scans and seven hours of surgery, Jason woke up in intensive care with a diagnosis no one wants to hear, least of all a young, fit man, in his prime, who loved to snowboard, wakeboard, and many more adventure sports. The diagnosis was quadriplegia. 

Jason says the injury is a lot more than being in a wheelchair. “It has an impact on every aspect of my body... Work, social activities, just getting around – all these things change dramatically.” 

Nicole has also found the extent of the injury’s impact on all aspects of life a shock and a struggle. “Everything about being in a wheelchair is hard,” she said. “People see someone like Jason and they think ‘he’s in a wheelchair’, but they never actually see further... And see how, everyday, the little things you do, how hard they are. Getting out of bed, getting dressed, showering, toileting.” 

Jason has recently become an ambassador for a campaign aimed at raising awareness of spinal cord injury – its prevalence, impact, and the need for research. The campaign is led by the Spinal Research Institute (SRI) and Spinal Cord Injury Network (SCIN). 

Jason and Nicole will be married next Saturday, 21 February. They have recently bought a house and plan to have children. Jason was selected for the Australian Wheelchair Rugby Team in June, and has his sights on Rio in 2016. 

To hear them talk about their journey since the accident, see

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