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Introducing Australian ‘Global Hero’ Kobi Graham, Sydney

20 September 2012

As announced, two Australian’s have been named as Global Heroes and will be heading to the US to participate in the Twin Cities Marathon. This is Kobi’s story…

Big wave surfer and Bondi Rescue lifeguard, Kobi Graham is fortunate that a wave he planned to catch in May 2010, did not take his life.

The area he was surfing in is renowned for being one of the most treacherous in Australia but as a professional, big wave surfer, Kobi thought he had accurately assessed the risks.

Kobi wiped-out in a massive wave, causing him to crash head-first into a shallow rock shelf, which damaged his C6 and C7 vertebrae – two of the seven vertebrae in the portion of the spine which supports the skull, enabling head movement.

As stated in news footage at the time, Kobi’s injury could have been far worse had he not assisted with his own rescue. Years as a professional lifeguard, plus specialised background training in spinal management, meant he knew exactly what needed to be done to minimise the risk of worsening the injury to his neck.

Despite being in excruciating pain and inwardly panicking that he had done the worst possible damage – he clearly described his condition and worked with his friends on the proper spinal injury rescue. As a result he was implanted with a Cervical Plate System, a titanium implant used to stabilise the cervical spine.

Kobi worked hard in the rehabilitation phase and just four months after his accident, was back in the water, catching waves again.

Kobi will be participating in the 10 mile run with his Bondi Rescue peer and mate Troy Quinlan, and is the only Global Hero who has recovered from a spinal injury participating in the 2012 event.

A $1000 donation is made on behalf of all global heroes to a charity of their choice. Kobi is proudly providing his donation to the Spinal Cord Injury Network, Australia.

If you would like to find out more about the program or know of a keen runner living with a medical device visit www.medtronic.com/globalheroes.  

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