“Don’t let your disability mask your ability”
I could have never imagined that the words ‘quadriplegia and sports’ could coexist in the life of a person after a spinal cord injury. How can being active and doing things by yourself be possible when your entire body below the shoulders is paralysed! Justin epitomises a lifestyle filled with activity, sports, self-reliance and confidence. On our very first meeting I noticed how independent he was: he drove himself to the venue in a modified car. Listening to his experience of scuba diving inspired me to try it out. He is the most sought-after peer mentor for quadriplegics.
Justin Jesudas’ #LifeBeyondSCI
Born in Trichy, Tamilnadu. Quiet, calm childhood with my 3 siblings and loving parents. Everything was going great, career was in top gear as an associate director with UBS, a dream job of sorts.
When I was 29, just when I thought everything was going great, I met with a car accident in 2009. It left me paralyzed neck down for life
Three weeks after my accident, I checked in at Christian Medical College, Vellore. My first wasn’t great. At an acute stage, all I could do was nothing, with no finger control, postural hypotension, preventing me from sitting for long. However, my second stint in 2012 was much more fruitful. Went with a goal list and came back wiser, stronger and super confident.
Life beyond spinal cord injury
Has been a great journey. There’s a beautiful life even after paralysis. I know that because I am living it. Right from representing India in various international championships, several gold medals, SCUBA diving, beach surfing, driving a hand operated car to now being a parent of beautiful twins, a boy and a girl, I can easily say human mind can do great things if only we believe in what we want, even if it means doing things differently from others
Check out Justin’s video of scuba diving in Chennai:
I love traveling. I have traveled with family and alone. My visit to Niagara in 2015 with my family, is a very memorable experience. Given the current situation, traveling is off the cards but I love visiting ancient civilization and historic places. Outside India, I would like to visit Greece, Turkey and Egypt.
Message for people who are newly injured
All things are difficult before becoming easy. Don’t let your disability mask your ability. Pursue whatever you want to do but be prepared to do it differently than before. Doesn’t matter if it is awkward or clumsy. Embrace the new normal.