Scott’s helping hand to break the cycle

26 Sep 2022
Scott’s helping hand to break the cycle

The Annual Project Discovery Classic is enough of a challenge for your average cyclist, let alone attempting it on a handcycle.

Scott Crowley will do just that after sustaining an incomplete spinal injury to his L2 vertebrae while snowboarding in 2001.

“One day I went off a jump too high and too fast and fell back-first onto a rock,” he said.

“The L2 is towards the bottom of your spine, around the waist. Incomplete means there are still some messages that get through but there’s no real telling what and why.

“I can move all my right leg, but I can’t move my right foot, and I can move my left foot but can’t really move my left leg.”

Scott was an athlete before the 2001 accident and didn’t let the injury keep him from the sporting field. He’s competed at national and international level in several sports including wheelchair basketball and triathlon and is currently training to compete in December’s Ironman Western Australia in Busselton.

“I’ve thought about doing the Project Discovery Classic before but having been in training for the iron man I think I’m ready,” he said.

“No matter which way you look at it, it’s still 370km over three days, so it’s still a lot of work!”

Scott and fellow rider Lloyd Townsend, who both work with ParaQuad SA, have been clocking up the kilometres in training around the streets of Adelaide. Road cycling can be a hazard at the best of times. It is extra fraught when your cycle is no higher than a car tyre off the ground.

“I’m lying down and my visibility of the road ahead of me is not great,” Scott said.

“I was on a ride along Military Road with Lloyd one time and suddenly he yells ‘pothole!’. Without that I would have run into it head on.”

As well as feeling physically ready for the challenge, Scott is driven to provide funding and advocacy for the Neil Sachse Centre for Spinal Cord Injury Research at SAHMRI.

“All of the funds we raise go towards spinal cord injury research which is just so important,” he said.

“There have been very few advances in injury management since I did my injury 20 years ago, so we need to give researchers all the support we can.”

This cycling challenge is named for Project Discovery – a clinical trial being run by the Neil Sachse Centre which aims to revolutionise the diagnosis and prognosis of spinal cord injury and other spinal pathologies. The funds raised support this research project.

You can sign up to ride alongside Scott and Lloyd here, or visit here to support their ride.

Want to show your support without having to ride?

Support spinal cord injury research at SAHMRI