I wrote in a previous blog post about how I don't feel scarred by my stroke, because my deterioration was so quick. I am not really traumatised what happened to me and I feel most sorry for my wife, my family and friends because they witnessed everything. In a way, I feel that I am very fortunate to almost had missed my stroke. But, in November 2014, (10 months after my stroke) I witnessed my first experience with sympathising another person having a traumatic episode.
I was listening to the 1116 SEN radio (sports station) while I was at home doing my occupation therapy exercises. Suddenly, news broke that Phillip Hughes [young Australia test cricketer] was seriously hurt because of a bouncer to his neck during a Sheffield Shield match at the Sydney Cricket Ground. He was representing South Australia, batting nicely and the scored read 2/136 - Hughes was 63 not out. I instantly checked my twitter feed and I saw the words 'induced coma and intensive care'.
My instinctive thinking was ‘my god - holy sh&@‘ - especially when I never met Phillip Hughes ever! Obviously, he was famous and I love cricket, but my reaction was highly emotional and triggered by the words ‘induced coma and intensive care’. I cried for at least 15 minutes after because I was so sad. Words are so powerful sometimes. I felt for him, his teammates who witnessed it, and his family and friends who would have been thrown into chaos because of this incident.
After two days of Phillip Hughes' accident, sadly he passed away and cricket community were mourning and the round of matches of Sheffield Shield were abandoned. "Given how players across the country are feeling right now, it's just not the day to be playing cricket".
Cricket players, teammates, fans and general public were trying to comprehend what happened and trying to send tributes. The social media tribute #putoutyourbats was simply amazing and so simple - place the bat on the cap. It was 'a heartfelt expression of grief and respect'.
This was my tribute at home four years ago:
Out of respect I don’t feel I need to explain in detail what happened to Phillip, however, if you aren’t familiar with his tragic story, there are many news articles and video clips which you can access via the internet.
Although I didn't know Phillip, what happened to him really struck a chord with me and connected me to what I'd been through. Until then I hadn't though much about what things had been like while I was in my coma. But witnessing the hysteria and commotion through social media, newspapers and the news allowed me to have a small glimpse into what it was like for the people around me.
I felt compelled to write something because last week was the anniversary of Phillip’s passing. Maybe it is good time to reflecting - especially when Australia cricket team had been in rough waters recently re-Sandpaper saga, and it will be competing with India this summer - normally it is a fiery, exciting contest.
Sadly, my disability prevents playing cricket. I miss it. But, I am lucky to be alive and, in my opinion, cricket still is a beautiful game and more importantly as Australians, I think we have recently forgotten that ... it is just a game. That’s my perspective.