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Teddy Nguyen Slater and Gordon client2

It was just a regular September night. Teddy who was 25 then, was having dinner at a friend’s house, where they made plans to see a movie. Before the movie, Teddy decided to drive his motorbike home first, so they could all travel together to the cinema. The trip home was less than two kilometres and it was a drive he’d done a thousand times before, but on his trip that night, he was struck by an L-plater on a night drive with her mum.

It was like in the cartoons, how they spin out. All I could remember was spinning a few times, rolling on the ground, rolling, rolling. I was conscious during the whole time. I went to go stand up and fell back down completely. When I looked at my leg, the heel of my foot was facing me. I knew my leg was gone.

Three years since his collision, Teddy now has a prosthetic left leg from his knee down. It was a hard choice deciding to amputate, but between the three options his doctors had presented, this was the one that best ensured him mobility in the future, and at only 25, Teddy still had an active future ahead of him. Strangely enough, it was Teddy’s job as a tattoo artist that helped affirm his decision. Being a tattoo artist in Melbourne’s inner west introduced Teddy to a lot of different people, including a number that had lost their legs through traumatic accidents. Listening to their stories and seeing how they continued to live their lives made him pretty confident that he’d be alright.

Teddy also found support from Susan Accary and her team from Slater and Gordon, who were with him from day one.

The TAC process at times has been pretty frustrating, but having Susan and her team help from the start really helped me out… especially when it came to certain compensation and certain documents I had to prove. Like I work in a tattoo parlour, all of a sudden I had to get all these documents for the TAC, so Susan took care of all that for me… Susan’s been awesome.

After his several surgeries and many months in rehab, Teddy has pretty good mobility and can get about his days reasonably well. But his improvements have plateaued right now, because as a fairly new amputee his stump is still slowly changing and he’s in need of a new prosthetic and socket and then he’ll need to relearn how his body works again. Despite these setbacks, Teddy remains optimistic.

Right after the accident, I just remember clear as day being super bummed out. There was pain, there was discomfort, but I just remember being really bummed out.

Fortunately, Teddy didn’t stay bummed out for too long. He’s blessed with an amazing network of friends and family that continues to support him. From the night of his accident to when he was in rehab, he’s always had a rotation of people in the lobby waiting to visit him, and with that knowledge in his head, he knew he couldn’t let himself go, he had to continue to push himself and grow, for everybody that loved him. Right now he’s just looking forward to the simple things, like regaining his independence, as he’s had to move back in with his dad since his accident, the end of his case, and working on his physical fitness.

Designs by Teddy in his work as a tattoo artist

While Teddy’s experience has been harrowing, and his positive response is absolutely inspiring, he’s also quick to point out that he’s just a regular guy. Case in point, while he was undergoing rehab, his physio had shown him inspirational videos of Paralympians achieving amazing athletic feats. In a bout of inspiration, he started looking up different Paralympic sports he could compete in, and then like the rest of us, had the realisation that “nah… I’d get demolished.”

Teddy has designed T-shirts to raise funds for the Royal Melbourne Hospital, who treated him after his accident. T-shirts are $40 + shipping. If you’d like to support Teddy’s fundraising efforts, you can email your orders to steadyteddytattoo@gmail.com or drop into Anderson Street Tattoo.

The contents of this blog post are considered accurate as at the date of publication. However the applicable laws may be subject to change, thereby affecting the accuracy of the article. The information contained in this blog post is of a general nature only and is not specific to anyone’s personal circumstances. Please seek legal advice before acting on any of the information contained in this post.

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