CatWalk talks to Christian Nisbet
CW: When and how did you get to be in a wheelchair?
CN: I used to race motocross before my inury and on 25 May 08 I was racing in Taupo. There was a really huge obstacle called the Energy Center Point Jump and I really wanted to jump it. I knew I could but only a few riders my age had ever jumped Center Point so I knew it was hard. During practice I cased the jump which means I landed on top and this was so I could work out how much more speed I needed to clear the jump. I jumped Cente Point on my second lap of practice and landed great. It felt awesome. On my third lap I hit it too fast and went high. I knew I had made a mistake as soon as I left the ground but I stayed with the bike so that it would cushion my landing. I over jumped the obstacle and landed on the flat crushing my spine (T6/T7). The xrays look like it exploded. When I was lying on the ground my Dad ran over and said I would be okay but I knew it wouldn’t and I told him I couldn’t feel my legs.
CW: Are you a paraplegic or tetraplegic?
CN: I’m a T6/T7 para. I’ve got the use of my lats which is cool as they help me with balance.
CW: Tell us about any surgery that you have had since your accident.
CN: I had my surgery at Starship Hospital by Dr Hamish Crawford and his awesome team. It was scary and even though I was treated great and had lots of visitors it was really hard. The doctors cleaned up the loose bits of bone that had been smashed and screwed and clipped two titanium rods from my t3 to my t10. If I ever get to walk again, at least I will have a straight back.
CW: What do you do to keep fit?
CN: I have a workout routine with light dumbells and bungy. I am also trialing a hand crank that will also move my legs. I have to do frog and prone and I get up onto my kneees and do some balance and pushup excersices. I also have to do four hours a day in my standing frame. Excercise is really important especially for my growing body but it takes up lots of time which is hard. I play PS3 heaps when I am in the standing frame and I have a deal with Mum and Dad that if I work hard during the week I get the weekends off so that I can take a break.
CW: Tell us about the people that help you, especially family, friends, school and doctors.
CN: Mum , Dad, Niki and Vanessa Urwin. Niki is a para like me and he visited me at Starship. He is cool because he is independent, fit and races karts. My friends Connor, Bill, Michael and Haki have all helped me heaps and they came to stay with me when I was in Burwood for my rehab. My school has been really great and they have helped me with standing frame, transfers and when I need help. I had heaps of support and visitors when I was in hospital after my crash and that was really cool as it helped me get through.
CW: What school are you attending and what are your favourite hobbies or sports?
CN: I go to Colyton Primary School. It is a country school with five classes. I belong to Kartsport Manawatu and I have justed started karting. I like to drive my Teryx and my kart and shoot targets off the deck with my bb gun. Sometimes I get to ride my little brothers 50cc mini bike. I take my Teryx to motocross and watch my mates race and I can hang out with them at the track. I also like to grow veges and I have some box gardens to do this in. I like to solder stuff and do woodwork. I play PS3 online heaps to help kill time when I am in my standing frame and I have a Facebook and Bebo page to keep in touch with my motocross and new friends. I also like to play farmtown.
CW: Tell us about any specific modifications to your family home, school or recreational equipment that has had to be made since your accident.
CN: I have ramps into our house and school and ACC modified a bathroom at home and school. They made my bedroom bigger and put paths around our house so I can get to the shed where I keep my Teryx and my box gardens. My box gardens are at my wheelchair height which makes planting and weeding easier. I also have a van with a ramp so I can get into the van by myself and then transfer into a normal seat. ACC modified a Kawasaki Teryx for me so that I can get around motocross tracks and be with my friends.
CW: What is the one piece of equipment that you just couldn’t do without and why? (This doesn’t have to be around mobility and could be computer for staying in touch with friends, your cart, or playstation!!)
CN: It’s two! My wheel chair and the hand controls for my Teryx.
CW: What has been the hardest thing to deal with since being in a chair?
CN: There’s lots of things like I cant’ beat my mates at motocross anymore and I can’t ride my scooter or learn how to do a 360 on my BMX but the biggest thing has to be learning to be patient. It is really hard to have to wait for help to do some things when I used to be able to do it for myself or when things I used to do really easily now take ages to get done. That sucks.
CW: What are your goals for the next year and what do you want to do when you leave school?
CN: Get more independant, kick butt on the line, win a national title in karting and get high grades at school. I want to one day create games and work for a big major company.
CW: Who inspires you and why?
CN: Ricky Carmichael because he is the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) of motocross and Niki Urwin because his is cool and independent.
CW: When a cure for Spinal Cord Injuries is found, what will be the first thing you will want to do?
CN: I would ride my BMX bike and scooter and jump on a trampoline.
CW: Is there anything else that may be of interest to our readers?
CN: PS3 Rocks!! Stay strong and learn to be patient. Somtimes this injury is really hard – it’s crap but don’t let your injury hold you back. Keep doing phsyio it’s worth it and it’s great to do new things that you don’t think you can do because of your injury.
CW: Is there anything that your parents would like to add, that will be of interest to our readers?
D&LN: Christian is an amazing young man and we are confident that he will not let his injury become a disability for him. As parents, we believe that we need to encourage Christian to challenge himself to be the best he can be and to live his life to the fullest possible extent. Activty and play are important aspects to Christian’s recovery and ongoing management, as is the need to maintain contact with his friends. A child offers a range of different health challenges and an area we are particuarly focused on is ensuring that we do whatever we can to help ensure that Christian grows through to adulthood as normally as possible.