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By Erin Leckie



“I wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary, it was just becoming dark. I was on a road with two lanes going in both directions. As I pulled away from the traffic lights, a car failed to see me and give way, pulling out across the road and blocking my path. I smashed into the side of it.”


It was 2002, on a dreary Brisbane street, when a car failed to give way to a young man on his motorbike. Unfortunately, road accidents on our busy streets are a familiar tale of woe, but this story, at least, has a happy ending.

Nathan Sturgess sustained serious injuries that day. Worst affected were his right arm and his right thigh; but he was alive. Three operations later, the doctors finally managed to close up his leg. One year after the accident, they were still cutting glass out of his body.

Initially, Nathan lost more than 10kg. He required constant assistance; to cook, to shave and even shower. When he finally started back at TAFE, Nathan couldn’t even straighten his right arm past 90 degrees, due to the shortening and damage to his biceps tendon. He would hold his bag on the side of his damaged arm, so no one would notice that he couldn’t straighten it out.

Luckily for Nathan, and without his knowledge, he had started his physical and mental training for his recovery years earlier. His original goal had been to break away from all the unhealthy lifestyle he’d been living.

“I was smoking, drinking and by my late teens, I was heavily involved in the Sydney rave scene. I won’t go into the finer details, but I was engaged in a very extreme and unhealthy lifestyle,” he recalls.

“I knew that I needed something to help balance me out, to help burn up some of my mental energy and to settle my mind. Out of the blue, I caught up with one of my mates from school who was always into training and I started going to the gym with him.”

Nathan went from one end of the scale to other. He was determined not to be half-arsed (his words) about his life, health or happiness. It was this shift in attitude, and a return to his healthy habits from childhood, that would ultimately see Nathan make a full recovery.

“As soon as I could [after the accident], I was doing overhead triceps extensions in my room with one of my mum’s 3kg dumbbells that I found at home. As soon as I could start to stand on my leg, I started to rehab myself and was using the pool at the gym to work through range of motion on my leg without the loading.”

How did that end? Six months later Nathan was bigger and stronger than he had ever been. His doctors, specialists and chiropractor were astounded with his recovery.


For the full article, grab a copy of Men’s Muscle & Health issue 5, or subscribe online today!

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