Insurance and Care NSW (icare) and Paralympics Australia have announced a three-year extension of their partnership, ensuring NSW workers continue to benefit from unique opportunities for support and mentoring from Australian Paralympic athletes.
icare’s Paralympian Speakers Programme is now in its fourth year and is continuing to gain popularity across a range of industry groups. Speakers deliver tailored presentations focusing on the importance of workplace health and safety, sharing personal stories of their own workplace or motor vehicle accidents.
“icare’s mission is to provide the best care and support to our injured workers and road users,” icare CEO and Managing Director John Nagle says. “To have the support of Paralympic athletes is immensely valuable in helping to prevent workplace accidents and making safety a priority at work and on the road.
“Our Paralympians are incredible role models, and as mentors and educators their powerful experiences and achievements offer hope to those who need it most, while shining a light on the significant contribution that severely injured people can make in our communities.”
Paralympics Australia CEO Lynne Anderson says the programme offers a unique opportunity for some of Australia’s Paralympians to share their journey from accident to recovery in a meaningful way.
“icare is a long standing and valued partner of Paralympics Australia, and we are thrilled to have their continued support through Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022,” she says. “icare’s values and goals align neatly with those of our Paralympians, and we’re looking forward to making an even bigger impact in the workplace health and safety space together.”
One member of the programme is Brett Stibners, a wheelchair basketballer who has represented Australia at three Paralympic Games and is now preparing for his fourth in Tokyo next year. At the age of 21, he fell asleep at the wheel while driving between jobs as an apprentice electrician. The accident broke every bone below his waist and resulted in his left leg being amputated above the knee.
“I just ignored the early warning signs of fatigue, drowsiness, over steering, boredom and eventually I had a micro sleep,” he says. “I was 21 years old - you think you’re invincible. I was in hospital for about three and a half months. I found it very difficult to be a normal person again as everything has been taken away.”
Stibners started playing wheelchair basketball two years after his accident, and was part of the team that won gold medals at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing and the 2010 World Championships in Birmingham, UK.