Chris Wagner

I’ll try to keep this short and simple, there is a multitude of emotions involved here – I’ll do my best to keep them out. I was an active, healthy able-bodied boy of 10 years when the “accident” happened. The aneurysm/stroke robbed me of bodily, basic human function, the use of my right hand side (now left handed), the ability to speak and left my body a scrawny, crumpled and crooked frame. The doctor called the operation a success – I differed strongly with this definition. Today I am Hemiplegic, with Cerebral Palsy on my now defunct right hand side. I also suffer mentally from time to time – especially when stress and pressure levels are high, and there is a requirement to multi-task. All was not well in my world. Psychologically, emotionally and physically I was utterly wrecked. Suicide was often on my mind. During my schooling years, two things kept that evil at bay. The pacifying temporary relief that sport provides, and a solid single solitary friendship of a classmate. He had serious family troubles, and we could relate to each other’s problems well. He is supremely intelligent, a gifted artist, an original musician and a cyclist – a true individual. Apart from that friendship, sport has been my solid companion. Briefly, before the age of 10 – I was a keen cyclist, runner, surfer and enjoyed sailing and paddle skiing with my Dad. I did partake in other activities too, but these were secondary: tennis, cricket, rugby, swimming and boy scouts. It was never easy, but my journey back to almost complete recovery has been rather steady.

In short, after the initial physio, occupational and speech therapy – I was able to hobble around using a stick. The first breakthrough came after balancing and pedalling a bike. About a year passed, and many falls and grazes later, my leg strength and co-ordination allowed me to start jogging again. Also I had substituted stand up surfing, with prone body boarding. However, I sought a fresh challenge. Watching some lifeguards’ train on the beach one day, I was immediately attracted. Surf Lifesaving is a tough explosive sport, with difficult qualification criteria – even for able-bodied folk. I failed on the first qualification attempt, the second and the third. However, through hard work (mainly in swimming) and firm perseverance, I finally qualified as a fully fledged lifeguard a year later. However, the clock ticks on, and I need to set fresh goals… two of these lie potentially in 2016 when para-canoeing and para-triathlon will both premiere for the first time ever as new Paralympic sports. So! Targets have been re-aligned, and fresh goalposts have been set. Come 2013, these will be chased down with tremendous vigor!


Zizipho Ndlwana

I am Zizipho Ndlwana and I was involved in a motor vehicle accident in 2010. I am focusing on building a career in Athletics currently, and of course growing within the Sports industry as I have graduated with a Bachelor of Technology in Sports Management. My greatest ambition is to, in the future; pursue careers in Social Corporate Investment. There is so much need out there in the world for information, inspiration, sharing of knowledge, resources and skills, a need to reach out and do some good whereby people cannot do so by/for themselves.