Paralysed man becomes personal trainer after learning to walk again

Mike Newman, 30, became paralysed from the waist down after being thrown from his bike during motocross practice.

·3-min read
Mike Newman
Mike Newman is now a personal trainer after being told he may never walk again. (Caters)

A man who was told he might never walk again after being injured in a motorbike accident has become a personal trainer.

Mike Newman, 30, was paralysed from the waist down when his back “exploded” after being thrown from his bike during motocross practice in 2019.

He suffered devastating injuries, including a shattered L3 vertebrae, a punctured lung and a fractured tailbone and pelvis.

Newman, from Hayling Island, Hampshire, spent almost six months in hospital recovering from his injuries and was told by doctors he may have to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

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Mike Newman feared he may never walk again. (Caters)
Mike Newman spent five and a half months in hospital (Caters)

But after almost four years of recovery, he has broken down several physical barriers from being able to walk short distances, gaining his personal trainer licence and being the fittest he’s “ever been”.

Newman said: “I was on a motocross track when my bike hit a rock and the accelerator just pinged.

“I got thrown off, and I landed on my back when I just felt it explode beneath me.

“I tried to get up, but I couldn’t move. I got airlifted to hospital and had metal rods inserted into my back to help with the break.”

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Newman faced a long five-and-a-half month recovery in hospital and described how his legs “ended up just withering away to skin and bone”.

He eventually regained sensation in his legs but said they were “ incredibly weak” and “almost lifeless”.

After being discharged, Newman made it his mission to get back on his feet and learn to walk again but suffered a setback when the pandemic hit and everything was locked down.

He added: “I had physiotherapy at first to assist me with getting strength back in my legs, but with COVID-19 causing a full-scale lockdown in March 2020, that ended up stopping quite abruptly.

“I spent the lockdown walking around my house with a Zimmer frame, standing frame, crutches and a wheel chair.

"Using the frames was a really odd experience as there was no feeling in my legs for quite some time, so I kind of had to just drag my feet and legs along and rely on my upper body strength.

“One of my biggest goals was to be able to use the bathroom myself again, and it felt like such an achievement to independently use the toilet rather than having to use a catheter."

Mike Newman using machines for assistance in the hospital. (Caters)
Mike Newman using machines for assistance in the hospital. (Caters)

Newman started using the gym when lockdown restrictions eased, and his legs became stronger as he pushed himself.

Once he felt strong enough, he decided to retrain for his personal trainer licence and was the first to complete the course in a wheelchair.

Newman credits his friends and family, including partner Emma-Jane, 29, for helping him through his rehabilitation after his accident and inspiring him to keep going.

He said: “I think having my mum, friends and Emma-Jane be there for me throughout all of this, has made what would have been a very isolated period in my life, turn out to be one of my most progressive and challenging times where I have come out ten times better on the other side."

Newman said he might never be back to 100% and occasionally needs his wheelchair when he "over-exerts" himself.

He’s now hoping to use his experience of paralysis to help train other people in a similar situation to give them the new hope they need to get back on their feet again.