Lifestyle

Quadriplegic teacher aide a great role model

ROLE MODEL: Dan Horton has lunch with the kids every day.
ROLE MODEL: Dan Horton has lunch with the kids every day. Kirsten Cunningham

A MAN who became a quadriplegic after a motorbike accident is working as a teacher aide at Yarwun Primary School, and is one of the best, according to staff.

Dan Horton took a break from studying yesterday to reflect on the accident that 10 years ago put him in a wheelchair.

"It's not something to celebrate, but I definitely thought about it," he said.

"It feels like it only happened a few months ago, but at the same time it feels so far away."

On November 27, 2004, at 3pm, Mr Horton was attempting a motorbike trick over a foam pit, when something went horribly wrong.

"I still don't know if the bike hit my head or exactly what happened," he said.

"But when I couldn't feel my legs I knew it was bad."

When he got to hospital, they told him a dislocation in his C6 vertebrae had damaged his spinal cord.

"Suddenly I was an 18-year-old quadriplegic," he said.

There's a quote I really like that says - things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out

"I was in old-school traction for six weeks and had bolts in my head with a weight attached to it."

He lost the use of his legs, but was lucky to have some function in the arms.

"I was in the spinal unit for six months in Brisbane," he said.

"The initial bit was a bit tough, but it wasn't long before the other boys and I were stealing the nurse's keys and putting them on the remote control car so they had to chase it."

He said a big part of the healing process was laughter and keeping things as normal as possible.

He said he had to come to terms with being a quadriplegic and knew that if he got caught up in regret or depression he wouldn't be able to move on.

"Mum always said if you could've bottled the energy and laughter that's in the spinal unit, you'd be rich."

In 2008 he was given the opportunity to work at Yarwun Primary School as a teacher aide.

Principal Rebecca Brown said he was one of the best teacher aides she had ever worked with.

"He is so easy to get along with and has such an amazing rapport with the students," she said.

"He sits with the kids at lunchtime and really listens to what they have to say. He is such a great role model for the boys."

Mr Horton plans to keep working at the school and is about to complete the Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) program at CQ University.

He is deciding whether to study a bachelor of teaching or psychology next year.

"There's a quote I really like that says - things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out," he said.

"Ten years later, I still can't use my legs, but I have my whole life ahead of me, and with the amazing people in it, I'm excited to see what else I can do."

WHAT THE KIDS SAY:

Carson McKenzie, 11: He's awesome. He never gets upset when we annoy him.

Sarah Windsor, 11: Dan is a good teacher because he understands a bit more about what we like because he is young.

Kye Ehmann, 10: He's awesome. We talk about motorbikes and we have a secret handshake.

Topics:  accident quadriplegic teacher aide teaching yarwun



How to survive a bushfire in your car

IT SOUNDS like a nightmare, but it can happen.

Eight reasons to join the RFS

SPREAD across 93% of Queensland, the Rural Fire Service has about 36,000 volunteers. And you could be one of them.

What if my insurer gives me grief?

CLAIMING your insurance cover after a natural disaster can go one of two ways. It can be a breeze, or like pulling teeth.

Fisherman caught off Gladstone pay for their actions

CAUGHT: Illegal Vietnamese fishing boat caught off Gladstone with 3 tonnes of sea cucumbers.

ILLEGAL fishermen caught kept under guard. More could be coming

Developer's grand new multi-million dollar estate

NEW ESTATE: This is the only plan revealed by the property developer's new Billabongs Estate in Agnes Water.

DEVELOPER given the go ahead for a massive estate with 149 homes.

'Tough times': Truckload of treats for Gladstone kids

BIKEFUL: Matt and Clyde Luck head off on the Ulysses Christmas toy run.

Numbers down but smiles all around for Ulysses toy run

Local Partners

Hacksaw Ridge wins big in first round of AACTA Awards

Luke Bracey and Andrew Garfield in a scene from the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

THE major awards will be handed out on Wednesday night.

Paris Hilton fumes at clumsy partygoers

A reveller spilt their drink on Paris Hilton's DJ decks

Winnie Harlow isn't a role model

Winnie Harlow insists she isn't a role model.

Felicity Jones proud of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story role

Felicity Jones feels it is "important" for a woman to head Rogue One

Kiwi's plea to Ellen DeGeneres to save bakery after quake

Ellen... we need your magic.

Family had to be helicoptered out after powerful quake

Seacrest: Things are "going better" for Kim and Kanye

Ryan Seacrest says things are "going better now" for Kanye West

Couple's desperate $550K price drop to sell Gladstone home

Brian Headley and Kirstene Staib are selling their Kin Kora mansion for $750,000.

TELL tale sign of Gladstone's property market.

Seven Gladstone homes selling right now leave experts shocked

PROPERTY GURUS pick seven properties that show market has hit bottom

Banks reclaim Gladstone homes as job losses bite

LONG FALL: Property experts Heron Todd say, based on key market indicators, Gladstone is still travelling to the bottom of the market, with property prices set to get cheaper.

Property valuers say Gladstone housing market hasn't hit the bottom

The million dollar property to test Mackay's market

This Victoria St building will go to auction Tuesday and investors will be watching closely to see how much it sells for.

'High profile architect designed CBD asset' goes to auction

Prices jump in trio of mining towns

THE boost in coal prices in the past six months has triggered a house price jump in at least three mining towns in Central Queensland.

Boost in coal prices triggers a market turnaround

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!