Riding back from near-death experience
WHEN motocross rider Joel Evans crashed his bike in the MX Nationals in South Australia last year, he feared he would never walk again.
But not only has the Kingaroy 21-year-old had a speedy recovery, he is also riding again, with an eye on competing in the future.
The decision to get back on to his bike just 10 months after the crash that almost killed him was not an easy one to make.
"When I told my mum there was definitely some tears," Mr Evans said.
The recovery was not an easy process, with Mr Evans needing to relearn how to do the basic things he previously took for granted.
"My first memory (after the crash) was laying on the track and that's when it hit me," he said.
"I said to myself 'get up' and nothing happened."
The crash smashed his C5 (vertebrae) and when he woke up after an induced coma he could not feel anything below his neck.
Within weeks he regained movement in his toes, and each day he pushed himself to get more control of his injured body.
"I had my parents and my girlfriend feeding me so then my goal was to move my arms so I could feed myself," he said.
Next he set himself a goal of being able to sit up unassisted.
"I'd always been fit and healthy and I was pounding sweat just trying to sit up," he said.
Through assistance with a sports physio he pushed himself with the goal to get back on his motorbike.
He was so afraid that he might never reach that goal, that he kept it private.
"I never said it out loud, I kept it to myself but it was still in the back of my mind that I'm going to strive for this," he said.
His first ride was last weekend, and although he is far from a level where he is ready to compete professionally, he is glad to be back.
A video of his first ride, shot by his friend Zhane Dunlop has already gotten thousands of views, as he pushes himself to a professional comeback.
"It would be cool to put a date on it but I'm not going to do it," he said.
"I'm just going to take each day as it comes."