Sports teacher who was told he would never walk again after snowboarding accident defies doctors by running half marathon and getting back on the slopes
Mike Siddall was paralysed when he fell while training to be an instructorSpecialists told him he would probably be wheelchair-bound for life
He has just completed the Great Manchester Run despite losing his dexterity and sensitivity to temperatures
14:19 GMT, 6 June 2012
A sports teacher who faced life in a wheelchair after a snowboarding accident has defied doctors' dire predictions by learning to walk, run and board again.
Mike Siddall, from Bollington in Cheshire, was 23 and an experienced boarder on an instructor’s course in Sass Fee, Switzerland, when he fell and fractured his spine.
He was flown to a hospital for a major operation to insert metal bars in his spine, where specialists told him he was completely paralysed and unlikely to ever walk again.
Fighting back: Mike Siddall, pictured left after his snowboarding accident and right today, has just competed in the Great Manchester Run despite being left paralysed after a major operation on his spine
'I’ve spent a lot of time wondering what went wrong but I still don’t know,' said Mr Siddall, now 29.
'It was two days before Christmas on a run I’d done 100 times before.
'But I came off a jump funny and that was it, I just lay there unable to move.'
His brother, Dan, walked back up the mountain to help him.
Mr Siddall said: 'I realised it was serious when I saw a hand waving in front of me – and didn’t realise it was my own arm and my brother was waving it.
'I couldn’t feel my body and I couldn’t move.'
Fearless: Mr Siddall is now back on a snowboard after his devastating ain Switzerland six years ago
Mr Siddal was then flown to a spinal unit in Sheffield on a stretcher for three months of intensive physiotherapy.
'That was horrendous, so scary,' he said.
'On my first day a guy my age in a wheelchair came over and told me not to hope too much, that nobody left there on foot.
'That was hard to hear, especially as doctors couldn’t give me hope either. But I was always trying to wiggle something, I never let myself rest.'
Loved: The 29-year-old said family and wife Sarah, pictured, had been incredibly supportive as he slowly regained his ability to move
One day, he finally felt something in his foot, and later his legs – but his upper body remained paralysed.
'Then I managed to move one finger,' said Mr Siddall. 'I got my mum to hold my hand and she felt it. She burst out crying.
'The day I made it all the way across the hall with two physios holding me was incredible.'
A year later, he was able to run and he has just completed the Great Manchester Run. In September he will compete in the Great North Run to raise money for Aspire, a spinal injury charity.
'Running wasn’t pretty, in fact it still isn’t. I am still disabled and that’s why I know Aspire is so important for people like me.'
Mr Siddall is now back to snowboarding and although he is stiff, has lost dexterity and cannot feel temperatures, he is determined to keep doing all the activities he loved before he was injured.
'When I was in hospital and still in a wheelchair unable to move, a young guy from Aspire came to see me. He was in a wheelchair but so happy and healthy. It was the first time after the accident that I felt it wasn’t the end of the world.'
The sports graduate turned to teaching and is now a sports lecturer at Macclesfield College.
He says his family and 28-year-old wife Sarah, a reception teacher, were amazing throughout his recovery.
'I just want to keep raising money and I hope maybe I can inspire others not to give up,' he added.
Aspire provides services such
as accessible housing, grants, IT facilities and practical support and
advice to help support people from injury to independence. To sponsor Mike go to justgiving.com/mike-siddall.