Brett Stibners’ road safety message

Paralympian Brett Stibners speaking to staff for Road Safety Week

Gold-medal winning Paralympian Brett Stibners spoke to Council staff as part of National Road Safety Week.

At the age of 21 Brett was in a car accident as he was driving between jobs as an apprentice electrician and fell asleep at the wheel. The accident resulted in his leg being amputated above the knee.

Brett says that his accident was ‘100% preventable’.

His message to staff emphasised the impact that his accident had on his own life, but also that of his family, colleagues and boss at work, the truck driver he crashed into and the wider community.

Brett shared how important it is to be aware of the early warning signs of fatigue: ‘Really basic stuff like poor concentration, drowsiness, over steering, yawning, restlessness, tired eyes and slow reactions.’

‘What I know now is once you feel two or three of these early warning signs of fatigue, it’s best to pull over and take a break — whether you’re 10 minutes from getting home, half an hour into your trip, whatever it may be, it’s best to pull over and take a break.’

Brett’s response and recovery from his accident was inspiring for staff to hear. He was a keen hockey player and had been chosen to join the Australian Men’s indoor hockey squad for the upcoming world cup just three days before his accident.

After recovering from his accident, Brett was introduced to wheelchair basketball by someone in his neighbourhood. A week after trying it, he was hooked ‘I instantly fell in love with it and it was everything I’d missed from playing hockey and being around that sport and that team camaraderie … I just loved it.’

After two years of playing wheelchair basketball, Brett got his first invite to the Australian Men’s wheelchair basketball camp. ‘I wasn’t good enough to get there, but the program’s very good at bringing in people who have potential. And I showed good potential I guess.’

After continuing to pursue the sport in Spain where he could play more regularly and more competitively, Brett made the Australian team, representing Australia at a World Cup and winning a bronze medal.

Brett then went on to represent Australia at four Paralympics, winning gold at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, silver at the 2012 London Paralympics, finishing sixth at the 2016 Rio Paralympics and fifth at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

Brett’s final message ‘if you do feel one of those early warning signs of fatigue, please pull over, please take a break and get home safely to your family. That’s it from me.’

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