Motorbike accident leads to career as chiropractor
WHEN an unsecured load of wood fell off the back of a truck, unfortunately Ben Hiles was in the way.
"I was riding my motorbike and I flew 5 metres over an embankment at 90 kilometres an hour," he said.
"The guy didn't even know he caused an accident."
But Ben isn't angry at the driver. He's grateful.
"In a weird way, it was the thing that helped me change my life," he said.
With a fractures in his sacrum, L4 and L5, he underwent more than 18 months of chiropractic treatment, and had a lot of time to think.
"I was a metalworker before the accident and I'd come into work and ask the guys how they were," he said.
"It was all 'yeah, good mate' and brave faces, but then you'd talk to them one on one and they had all sorts of problems like depression, violence and alcoholism, and their life was falling apart."
His own injury meant he had to look at his health holistically, and he decided he wanted to help people, like the guys he used to work with, deal with their problems too.
"There is a male culture that we grin and bear it here, which is not on," he said.
"I want to encourage people to communicate and look at their health as a whole body thing."
Ben went back to university and is now a chiropractor at Complete Care Chiropractic on Auckland St.
"We have a tree in the sitting room where people write their positive thoughts and put them up."
"It's important we look beyond what's wrong with us and towards the amazing things in our lives."
Despite the accident, Ben still rides.
He is part of White Ribbon Gladstone, a social motorbike group that campaigns against domestic violence and meets regularly to ride together.
"Domestic violence is another serious thing that we don't talk about," he said.
He said using the bikes is a perfect way to start the conversation.
"We're a group of men and women and all of us are passionate about speaking out against domestic violence and love bikes," he said.
"When a group of motorbikes ride down the road, people take notice and it is a great way to start talking and letting people know there is help out there."
Ben said anyone who is interested in supporting the cause is more than welcome to come along.
For more information check out White Ribbon Gladstone's Facebook page.