Rotary in Action: Paralympian wheelchair basketballer Brett Stibners' work safety message

Recognition: Marilyn Jarrett of Kiama Rotary presents Paralympian wheelchair basketballer Brett Stibners with a certificate of appreciation. Picture: Supplied
Recognition: Marilyn Jarrett of Kiama Rotary presents Paralympian wheelchair basketballer Brett Stibners with a certificate of appreciation. Picture: Supplied

Last week Rotary Club of Kiama was addressed by Australian Paralympian wheelchair basketballer Brett Stibners. 

He resides in the Illawarra and is part of the WorkCover Paralympian speakers program designed to share personal experiences about the impact accidents can have on work and life and the importance of constant vigilance about safety at work. 

WorkCover’s Paralympian Speakers Program sponsors  athletes who have suffered permanent disabilities but gone on to achieve outstanding sporting success.

Brett was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, when he was just 20 years old, on Picton Road in 2001.

A simple lapse of a couple of seconds had a dramatic impact on his life.

It resulted in his left leg being amputated at the knee and his right leg being seriously and irreparably damaged.

The accident happened at 11am when he had a nano sleep while traveling between jobs. 

He had started work early that day but had not had a night out or late night before.   

A simple lapse of a couple of seconds had a dramatic impact on his life.

Brett was an elite athlete in hockey prior to his accident and had just been informed of his selection to an Australian representative team.

Brett’s transition to success in wheelchair basketball did not come easily.

Once he had been convinced to give it a go, and realized it filled a gap in his life, he had a long hard road to his eventual selection to represent Australia.

Advised he was unlikely to make the representative team he relocated to Spain where there is more opportunity to compete regularly and develop his skills.

Eventually, he was invited to represent Australia, Brett was part of the the wheelchair basketball team, the Australian Rollers, who won the Gold Medal in Bejing and the Silver Medal in the London in 2012.

Representing Australia has given him the opportunity to travel the world and he continues to be an advocate for workplace safety.

Kiama Rotary Club is a vibrant club with over 40 members. New  members who are interested in friendship, professional development and service to the community are welcome. Kiama Rotary Club meets at the Kiama Leagues Club on Monday at 6.30pm for 7pm. Visitors are welcome at any meeting and can contact John Kenny on 0434 989 253 to attend.