‘I’m determined to do matric’ – Joburg schoolboy says he’s staying positive one year after being left a quadriplegic

By Charlea Sieberhagen
18 November 2016

A diving accident changed JG's life forever.

It’s almost a year since JG Oosthuizen injured his spine in a diving accident in Mossel Bay. But this learner at Hoërskool Linden in Johannesburg is optimistic and even attended his school’s matric farewell dance.

“Things are going better now and there’s been an improvement with my rehabilitation with a biokineticist. One of my arms is also getting stronger,” JG says.

JG was to have started matric this year but after his accident he was classified as a C5 quadriplegic, according to Netwerk24.

This means he has little or no sensation from his shoulders down.

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“Initially I could hardly lift my arm off the table but now I can lift it up to my face and rub my face against it. In my right arm I can feel a bit of a flicker. That’s definitely something new.

JG goes for rehabilitation twice a week and is determined to write his matric next year.

“We’ve already started talking to people about how I’ll be able to do my matric and about possible study directions and careers for me.”

JG says he started taking extra classes this year in some of his subjects to prepare himself for next year. He used to be a keen rugby player and says he’s considering specialising in sports law later because he’s always loved sport.

“I’m a person who can work with my head because physically I can’t do much,” he says, pointing out that his friends and family support him and help him to remain positive.

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“My brother (Bekker) has always been there for me, and my friends still visit often. They can see I’m still me. I’ve always wanted to make my mark before I give up hope. That keeps me motivated.”

He says he’s happy he could attend the matric farewell function.

“I have outstanding friends and went with a wonderful girl; I really enjoyed the night. I danced a little in my own way and we joked and had a fun time. Even when I had to eat they said they wanted to feed me,” JG says with a laugh.

JG’s mom, Ezeth Oosthuizen, a biokineticist, says two carers take turns to help JG.

“They’re a great help and we have a routine.” She says she’s had to adapt her house to make it more wheelchair friendly.

“But we’ll have to move later because JG will want to become more independent.”

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