Playing sports at a high level has always been a passion for Adelaide’s Philip Stephens which he was able to rediscover through wheelchair basketball.
His sporting dreams took an unforeseen turn at 17 and were put on hold after a life changing experience.
“I got hit by a car when I was younger but before that I was playing heaps of district basketball and high level footy,” Mr Stephens says.
“After that I had six anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructions, several knee realignments and fought many staph infections.”
Now 34, Mr Stephens has been living with that disability which has caused considerable impact to his everyday life.
He says daily “norms” like walking, driving, working as well as looking after his children and enjoying his favourite leisure activities have become extra difficult.
The severe injury also meant he was no longer physically capable to continue playing able-bodied contact sports, igniting a downward spiral.
“Everything was ‘full on’ at that age and my life pretty much went downhill” Mr Stephens says.
“Watching all your mates play sports and knowing that you couldn’t play anymore affected me.”
“I was so active growing up then being in hospital all the time led to me putting on heaps of weight and being addicted to prescription drugs.”
In early 2016, his burning desire to get back on the to playing sport was the catalyst in getting his health and life back on track.
“I just wanted to play sport again and I thought it was time to do it,” Mr Stephens says.