A testament to the love and passion for our sport that only the BMXA family can understand.
Imagine getting ready to travel to the biggest BMX event on the calendar, but just before you leave, you suffer an injury that rules you out for not only worlds, but another 16 months of racing.
Macarthur’s Rory Southwell has had a remarkable journey since he missed out on the 2017 UCI BMX World Championships in Rock Hill, USA.
In May 2017, Rory had an accident during a practice session at Lake Macquarie, which required two operations to his hip. Not only did he miss worlds, but he also missed out on the NSW state titles at his home track.
“When I had the accident, I was released from hospital shortly afterwards and thought nothing was wrong with me,” Rory explained.
“I was doing a lot of physio and it was starting to feel better. One night, I was walking up the stairs at home and it just collapsed on me. I got an MRI and was booked in for surgery the next day.
“The doctor said next time I see you; you should be fine… but every time I saw him, he kept saying it and my time off the bike kept getting longer and longer.”
Not wanting to miss a minute of the world championships, Rory spent long sessions in the hospital bed watching the live stream until 2am, while his parents made him feel at home as possible hanging his Aussie jersey and his ‘Strength for 91’ Sam Willoughby t-shirt in his room. (see images below)
After finally being released from hospital, he spent four weeks house bound before months in a wheelchair. Rory’s mother Natasha described how tough this was for Rory and how his love for BMX kept him going.
“It was pretty devastating for him,” Natasha said.
“He was super keen for worlds, and he was disappointed he missed out, but he still wanted to be involved so we stayed up watching all of it.
“He spent a whole month in his bed, followed by four months in a wheelchair. He couldn’t go anywhere, and it was really tough for him. All he wanted to do was ride BMX, it just goes to show how much he loves it.”
After 16 months, Rory finally got back on the bike and it took a while for him to find his pedals again.
“It had been so long since I had been riding, that my skills weren’t there,” Rory continued.
“I think the hardest part was my confidence. Every time I jumped, I couldn’t help but go stiff. Eventually it came back, but I was feeling pretty dodgy and it took a while to come back to me. When it did it felt awesome.”
And he WAS awesome.
His first three races back had Rory record some remarkable results. His first race was at a state series round and he placed second, his second event was at the sixth stage of the 2018 BMXA BAD BOY National Series in Tuggeranong and he finished third, before he competed at the NSW state titles and claimed the win in his age group.
Here is a quick video of his journey.
A video of my last 5 and a half months. Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way.
Posted by Rory Southwell on Monday, November 6, 2017
The Southwell’s are now preparing to compete at the 2019 UCI BMX World Championships in Heusden-Zolder, an event that Rory has been waiting for since 2017.
Have a listen to what Rory wants to get out of worlds and what he is most looking forward to.
Make sure to keep an eye for Rory as he competes in the 15-boy’s as well as the 15-16 boy’s cruiser!
Before this article draws to a close, we could have compiled a paragraph that explains the incredible dedication and passion Rory has for the sport. But we think the message his mother Natasha shared with us is a much better way.
Here it is…
Every sportsperson may have to deal with injury at some point in their career and BMX is no exception. You need to have patience, listen to the Drs and do the rehab. It’s not easy, it takes time and perseverance but Rory’s back on his bike, which is his passion.
During the period that Rory was unable to ride, BMX was never far from his mind. He stayed connected with BMX and the Macarthur club by assisting with coaching some of the young kids who were new to the sport.
Rory has shown true grit in his recovery from his injury and to be able to bounce back from it is truly phenomenal. I hope that Rory can inspire anyone who is dealing with injury at the moment or in the future to keep at it and to always look ahead.