It is hard to image what anyone having to go through such a situation faces, but it is even harder when that person is a 25-year-old, who at the time believed he was seeing his entire sporting future disappear into thin air.
However, with massive and heartfelt help from a handful of friends and very close family, Mac is starting to turn his life around, and also starting to believe that his sporting career may not be over, but actually, about to be reborn.
A fundraiser is set to be held tomorrow at Anthem Wake Park in Cherng Talay to help raise funds for Mac’s continuing rehabilitation and physiotherapy. So The Phuket News decided to catch up with Mac and one of the main people helping him on his road to recovery, RPM Health Club’s Hayden Rhodes, to find out what’s been going on and what is needed in aiding him on what has been a roller coaster journey back to fitness, both in mind and body.
“My life’s been full of ups and downs since the accident, but the positives have been that I managed to get out of the hospital and I’m slowly moving on with my life.
“But saying that, I still see a down side, and that is that I am still not as mobile as I would like to be,” Mac said.
“I want to get back on my board, I’m bored with [water] skiing now, just going round and round in circles. But I know that’s not possible until I get back to full fitness and have the correct prosthetic leg,” he added.
Hayden, who first met Mac two years ago, was contacted shortly after the accident to see if he would be willing to help with Mac’s recovery. In response, RPM Health Club are now sponsoring Mac with a rehabilitation membership with three or four private coaching sessions per week. These intense sessions focus on; rehabilitation and neurological training, pilates conditioning and alignment, and functional sports strength and general physical training. All of these sessions aim to help with overall physical, mental and emotional well-being – and Hayden personally oversees Mac’s development.
Hayden explained, “Around the time of Mac’s accident I had just finished working with a 66-year-old man who had also lost his leg, I worked with him for two years so that he would be able to do something that he loved, skiing.
“When I first met Mac following the accident the first thing he said to me was that he wanted to get back on the water as soon as possible, and this was magic to my ears, but he also needed to face reality.
“I had to explain to Mac that his mind and body were going to go through massive changes, and even with a prosthetic leg (he didn’t have one at that time), the muscles in his stump are going to keep changing and he will continually have to return to hospital to adjust the fitting of that leg over the next 12 months or so,” Hayden said.
“Until Mac’s stump is fully recovered, and he gets a sporting leg that is able to take serious impact, he’s not going to be in the place where he wants to be. By that I mean up in the air fully riding hard again. The good news is that once we have a new strong sporting leg the progress on the water will be pretty fast.”
“Thankfully, and this is something that Mac can be really proud of, he is coming to terms with this and he now knows that he will be in the place he wants to be in about 12 months,” he added.
Something else Mac can be proud of is that Anthem Wake Park has recently given him a position as coach for the park’s up-and-coming students, and they are already reaping the benefits of his guidance.
“Two of the kids I’m training did really well in the Wake Jam Thai pro-event in Bangkok earlier this month. The 12-year-old I train actually won the event and that was competing against people twice his age,” Mac said.
However, it’s not only on a local level that Mac has been asked to coach, Thailand Extreme Sports Association (TESA) Director Phuriwat “Ton” Phattranonarnan has also asked him to be the head coach for the Thailand National Wakeboarding team. In fact, Mac specifically requested that Ton get a mention in this article, as he was there for him and his family throughout his ordeal.
“Ton took care of everything for my parents and I when I was hospitalised, he was there every day to give us all support, and he is continuing to do it. We cannot thank him enough for what he has done,” he said.
In addition to Ton, Mac specifically asked The Phuket News to mention a few people who have been there with him from day one of his ordeal, his now fiancée Maria Doroshenko, his friend Rudy, and of course the people that brought him into this world, his mum and dad.
Best of luck with your recovery Mac, and The Phuket News is sure that with all the ongoing support you’re receiving you’ll be back on your board and in the air in no time at all.