Scott Hoare and Angie Minukos enjoy a break in Scott's rehabilitation schedule.
Scott Hoare and Angie Minukos enjoy a break in Scott's rehabilitation schedule. Contributed

'I tried to stand but my arms and legs wouldn't budge'

I FINISHED my last clients at 1pm on the Friday afternoon and I had planned this all week.

Frank, Angie and I were going to go and do something as it was a beautiful, sunny afternoon and coming into summer we didn't want to waste any days.

We were tossing up between kicking the ball in the park or heading to the beach but it was pretty hot so I decided I wanted to go to my favourite beach - which was Coogee.

When we got there we all went in at first but Frank and Angie acted like normal grown ups and hung out in there with me for about 10 minutes before heading back to lounge on the beach.

Me, acting like a normal kid, stayed in the surf by myself for about an hour and a half catching dumping shore breaks and getting pummelled.

Like always, I loved it. The feeling of being thrown around and dumped by the waves was oddly what I enjoyed.

After a while we went for a walk to grab a couple of packets of chips to eat on the beach. It was about 5pm when Frank decided he was ready to call it. There was a massive storm coming from inland and we estimated it was about an hour before it was going to start pouring rain.

Angie and I were keen to go home too as it was pizza and movie night, but we thought maybe one last swim would be a good idea.

Pretty odd for Angie considering she never wants to come in the water with me.

We went down to the water, I dipped a toe and thought f*** that!

But Angie, being her tough self, was already walking into the shallow gutter. I thought - all right, if I'm going to get in here it's going to need to be fast.

And with that I started running toward the water and dove parallel to the surface, floating over the top of the water toward a breaking wave.

My hands were up in a standard dive position and I was looking ahead to where I was going.

As I was about to hit the wave I put my head down and I remember seeing that the wave had sand half way through it, which was really odd.

My hands missed the sand bar and went above it and the very tip of my forehead slammed into the bank forcing my chin to hit my chest with a lightning bolt-like crack.

I remember being a little rattled in the water, floating face down, as I hadn't even tried to stand up yet for a second or two.

As I came to a little and tried to stand up my arms and legs wouldn't budge.

I remember thinking very calmly "ok, I've temporarily paralysed myself. It should be right in a second and I'll stand up”. A couple more seconds passed with no improvement and I started getting pretty sad.

I started thinking about this feeling of drowning and my first thought after this moved to Angie and how upset she would be to lose me like this.

I remember thinking how unfair this was to end like this after such a beautiful afternoon.

I started panicking a little bit now and the feeling of floating and bobbing as the waves passed over me was calm but terrifying.

As my thoughts were racing I heard the distinctive whoosh of the water as Angie pulled me above the surface for my first breath in what seemed like an eternity.

I remember being carried by a bunch of people back to the beach and I remember the instant that I knew how bad it was.

I saw my legs and they were flopping around in that distinct lifeless way that paralysed legs do.

I was calm but crying as I knew that this time was different. I've hurt myself a lot of times, but this one was next level.

They lay me on the beach and all I could see was the darkening sky and the five or six faces of those who had just pulled me to shore.

The life savers came quickly and began to try and keep me calm with stories of how they see this often and it could be something far less sinister than what it appeared. I thanked them for trying but sadly insisted that this was not one of those times.

The life saver, Aaron, held my head stable the entire time and did an amazing job of keeping me calm.

He was factual, firm but empathetic.

And I respected that.

It took a bit under 30 minutes for the paramedics to arrive and about an hour for them to get me into the ambulance.

READ MORE: He fought off death three times

I went straight to Prince of Wales Emergency, which is arguably the best place to be for a spinal accident in Australia.

When I arrived my fears were confirmed that I was a quadriplegic and I was immediately sent in for surgery where I was operated on within six hours of my initial injury.

I have no issues talking about my accident. I've had no dreams or flashbacks which I'm thankful for.

The only thing that constantly happens is I hear that lightning bolt crack as I hit the sandbar as I tell the story. I'm a firm believer that your cards are dealt long before you get to read them and while some people may see that the decision for one last swim to be an extremely unlucky one, I see it as the opposite.

If we hadn't gone for that swim we would have probably had a car crash or something like that. The way that it happened I have no regrets about. I wasn't drunk doing something stupid, it was no one else's fault.

It was something I'd done 100 times that day and was just a simple accident. I don't dwell on the past, but I thought it was important to put the details out there so that everyone knows just how easily these things happen.

Be vigilant, but live your life.

Angie's perspective

I WALKED in first, which never happens, and went straight in waist deep - which also never happens.

As usual Scott ran straight in and dove into a crashing wave the same way he always does.

I remember watching him dive in and the white water washing over, submerging him for a couple of seconds.

When he surfaced, I noticed he was facing down. I instantly thought he must be joking but out of pure fear I ran to him anyway.

Former Gympie resident Scott Hoare with fiance Angie Minukos.
Former Gympie resident Scott Hoare with fiance Angie Minukos. Contributed

I picked him up and he was limp.

I screamed at him to stand up and that it wasn't funny.

I grabbed his face to see if he was conscious but his eyes were shut.

A wave crashed on us and I struggled to stand up.

I grabbed him again and screamed for help and all I cared about was keeping his head out of the water.

People came quickly, but it felt like forever.

As we were carrying him out he finally spoke and told me he couldn't feel or move his legs. He was crying but was calm.

Thankfully one of the people who was helping us carry him to the shore was a nurse and immediately told everyone to be careful of his neck.

Donations can be made at and search for #liftwithscott Help a coach move again.

Scott's progress can also be followed at his Facebook blog, Lift With Scott.

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