JASON Sauer in Europe earlier this year for World Cup competition which sees him ranked 15th in the world for Parabob racing.
JASON Sauer in Europe earlier this year for World Cup competition which sees him ranked 15th in the world for Parabob racing.

The ex-junkie now on the path to Tokyo paralympics

JASON Sauer admits there are still days when he misses his legs, and his dad.

But with a shot at the 2022 Tokyo Paralympics now well within his sights, the former junkie who had to lose his limbs before he could lose his addiction, now has his future well and truly in front of him.

It's a long way from the 2011 heroin overdose in Canada which saw him lie comatose for 14 hours on a kitchen floor, cutting off his circulation and leading to the terrible choice of either amputating his legs or losing his life.

Six years on Jason is ranked 15th in the world for Parabob and eyeing the balance of the Australian winter ski season at Mount Hotham in Victoria before heading to Park City Utah's Olympic Park for series of World Cup races.

His 15th ranking comes after competing in only three of the five races of the European leg of the series followed by the pain of rehabilitation from osseointegration surgery in Sydney, performed by ground breaking surgeon and Iraqi refugee Munjed Al Muderis.

 

AN x-ray of the sophisticated osseointegration surgery Jason Sauer has undergone in recent months as he prepares for a crack at the 2022 Tokyo Paralympics.
AN x-ray of the sophisticated osseointegration surgery Jason Sauer has undergone in recent months as he prepares for a crack at the 2022 Tokyo Paralympics.

Jason now has metal implants in his stubs that allow full length limbs and an artificial limbs to be fitted. After two months of rehabilitation he is making what he calls "progressive recovery".

But the pain's still there and until he is stronger he will stick to his shorter prosthetics on everything but dead flat ground.

He's been out of his wheelchair and upright for the past three months.

"The other night I just thought 'I miss my legs and I miss my dad' (who died in 1995)," Jason said.

"The next day I was back on target."

The former Kawana Surf Life Saving Club member and Maroochydore Swans rugby league player will do ski training with the Mount Hotham Ski Club for the remainder of the Australian winter before heading to the United States.

The Australian Sports Foundation is now looking to support his push for Tokyo and to help him raise the $14,000 he will need to help his training in the lead up to final selection.

"I've got four seasons in front of me," he says of the road ahead.

 

JASON on the charge during a World Cup event in Europe.
JASON on the charge during a World Cup event in Europe.

Jason, who began learning to drive a bob sled 12 months after he lost his legs, says his competitiveness lay in his focus and reaction time.

Parabob racers start sitting in their bobsleds, set on their downhill course by a device he said the athletes affectionately call a "cripple launcher".

This meant they don't need the strength of full-bodied bobsledders

Jason began learning to drive bobsled 12 months after his legs were amputated. 

He competed at World Cups in Lillehammer, Norway and Oberhof, Germany in January before contesting the World Championships at St.Moritz in Switzerland in February. 

The Australian Sports Foundation said his 12th place at the Oberhof World Cup in January 2017 and 14th place at the World Championships at St.Moritz came with very little training after a long break from the sport.

"The guys I'm racing against have been fully-focused since 2012," Jason said.

He's eyeing a short break in the sunshine at the Gold Coast as a guest of a New Zealand family whose daughter lost her legs in the Christchurch earthquake, a trip he hopes will help motivate her recovery.

Then it's back to the Sunshine Coast in October before hopefully heading to North America in November.

You can support Jason's 2022 Paralympic bid through his tax deductible fundraising link at: https://asf.org.au/athletes/jason-sauer/



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