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Life's now swell: Garry Taylor can now enjoy his life-long passion for surfing again as he returns to the waves.
Life's now swell: Garry Taylor can now enjoy his life-long passion for surfing again as he returns to the waves.

When NSW champion surfer Garry Taylor headed to Bali on a family surfing trip in 2013, he was fighting fit. With some 8 Australian trophies among a total of 500 under his belt, life was good for the then 61 year old.

But a short trip in the back of a Bimo (a small minibus) on the island of Lombok marked the beginning of an arduous and terrifying time for Garry and his wife Marg.

As the bus travelled over a bump in the road, Garry was jerked into the air and landed hard and painfully on his tail bone.

Assuming his discomfort was due to bruising Garry continued with his holiday only to endure a series of small slips that ultimately led him to a loss of feeling in his legs and incredible pain.

Shortly afterwards he was flown to Bali where surgeons discovered broken bones, with shards lodged in his spine. After 8 days he returned to Australia with addition of several screws and rods placed in his back.

During his rehab, it was clear Garry was not progressing and was still in a good deal of pain, suffering with extensive nerve pain.

At this point his fate took a positive turn and he was referred to neurosurgeon Dr Mitch Hansen at Newcastle Private Hospital.

After some initial resistance, Dr Hansen agreed to investigate further into Garry’s injury and operate again.

The bolts placed along his spine had snapped, possibly due to their inferior size and a blueish paint had seeped into Garry’s tissues and muscles.

Significant scar damage had occurred from cuts made through the muscle causing further pain and the subsequent nerve damage.

After nearly 8 hours in theatre Dr Hansen had removed the broken bolts, positioned 8 new ones and inserted 2 ceramic discs to support Garry’s spine.

From here on in progress was rapid.

“Within 12 hours from coming round from the surgery the staff at Newcastle Private Hospital had me up and walking, it was incredible and extremely encouraging,” began Garry.

During the following 3 weeks while he stayed with the Rehab unit at Newcastle Private Hospital, Garry undertook 3 1 kilometre walks, 2 hydrotherapy sessions and 2 physio sessions everyday.

“I cannot fault Newcastle Private Hospital, every single person there is wonderful. Having been in so much pain and with a good deal of worry for both myself and my wife, we felt in such good hands,” Garry commented.

“Dr Hansen is an absolute legend. His care and attention during the operation resulted in a much quicker healing process for me.

“I’m back surfing and about to head to Port Macquarie for the NSW Long Board Championship.

“I wouldn’t be doing that if it wasn’t for Dr Hansen and the staff at Newcastle Private Hospital”