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Darren Thomas

I started training in the gym at the age of 15 when a very good friend of mine took me along with him to his personal trainer. I’ll never forget it. I trained arms and was in so much pain I couldn’t move for 2 weeks. I loved the pain so much I signed up at the gym and never looked back. I was a very active kid playing all sports, doing athletics and training in the gym every other day. I spent my days outside doing whatever I could that would get my adrenaline pumping.

From 16 Rugby became my passion and I wanted to achieve something on the rugby field. I went on to play 1st team at school, U19 at RAU and U21 at Pirates. I then played Seniors at Pirates and Wits and in 2005 made the Lions 7′s side. Another passion of mine was Kickboxing. I competed in 7 fights in which I won 6 by Knockouts and TKO’s. I went on to SA Champs and was beaten by the SA Champ in the 2nd Round.

On October 23rd 2007 my whole world fell apart. I was shot and stabbed in a house robbery at 3 in the morning. The bullet missed my heart by 1mm because of my heart contracting at the moment the bullet passed through. The bullet collapsed my lung and skimmed my spine. The bone fragments pierced my spinal cord leaving me paralysed from the chest down. They had to remove a third of my lung and as a result I ended up with 67 staples in my back. The stab wound to my head with a screwdriver was not deep enough to cause any damage and only left me with 6 staples. I was in ICU, general ward and then Rehab for 3 months. I had to learn to adapt and live from a wheelchair with no real balance because I basically lost my whole core.

Going from being on the rugby field, in the gym, going to Kickboxing, riding Superbikes and Jetski’s to lying in a hospital bed learning to sit up all over again was a body and mind destroyer. Losing the will to live happened and that is no place I ever would want anyone to be in. A time I would never have made it through without my Girlfriend at the time (now my wife), my Family, my Faith and most importantly God!

After a lot of struggling, learning how to do things all over again and actually getting the confidence to leave the house I decided I needed to train. It’s in my blood and I needed it. I didn’t care what people thought or what they would say I wasn’t going to stop living. Yes it was really difficult but I did it. I got hold of my old trainer and went back to the gym. We started experimenting and seeing what we could do and started a program slowly adding new things and just getting used to everything. It felt amazing….doing one of the things I enjoyed so much again. Yes It took time getting used to and I fell off the benches a couple of times but I wasn’t going to let that break me down. People stared and it was hard but I didn’t care. You can’t care because if you do you’ll never even leave the house.

“People Will stare…Make it worth their While!!”
Now I train in the gym, push heavier weights than most able bodied guys, I swim, play Basketball and Box….yes you heard right, Box! Train Hard, Never Give Up , #BEYOURBEST… and live with No Excuses!