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SA rider Joey Evans overcomes paralysis, completes the Dakar Rally!

2017-01-19 10:09

PURE INSPIRATION: Joey Evans only had a 10% chance to ever walk again. In 2017 he completed the Dakar! Image: Supplied

Cape Town - Despite suffering a devastating motor crash that left him paralysed and nearly crushed his dreams of competing in the Dakar rally, South African motorcyclist Joey Evans has completed the 2017 edition of the grueling race.

Evans has always wanted to compete as a Dakar Rally: “I dreamed of racing in the Dakar rally after watching it on TV and made it my goal to compete one day. I went on to race a number of races both regional and national in 2006 and 2007.”

Overcoming the struggles

The SA racer broke his T8 and T9 vertebrae an crushed his spinal cord that left him completely paralysed from the chest down. 

Physiotherapist Sharné Bailey, who has worked with Evans since two years after his accident said his true heroism came from his persistence during rehabilitation with physiotherapists like herself and Melanie Harding from the South African Society of Physiotherapy.

READ: #Dakar2017 - Three SA-built Toyotas in top ten

After a neurosurgeon fused the two vertebrae, it increased the chances of Evans walking again to only 10%.

Bailey said: “A 10% chance was all a guy like Joey needed. And once he was up on his feet, it was inevitable that he would want to get back on a bike. And that he’d start dreaming Dakar dreams again. Biking was his life, he had that fire in him.”

Just a 10% chance

About five years ago Evans, with the help of his physiotherapists, starting working on getting him ready for the Dakar.

Harding said: “He told me that any competitor only has a 30% chance of finishing the Dakar, so he reckoned he had maybe a 10% chance - and that was enough for him. I am so proud of him - it’s an amazing, amazing achievement.”

READ: #Dakar 2017 - 'Worst organisation I've ever had in one rally'

Bailey added: “I’m so privileged to have been part of his journey. He’s an inspiration; just to know that it is possible, if you are given a chance and that’s what I try to do with all my patients, just give them a chance.”

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