Lasting scars of survival

Keeping family close: Matthew Woodberry is thankful to be spending Christmas at home with his family. Pictured sharing a cuddle with his mum Julie. Picture: Neil Richardson.

Keeping family close: Matthew Woodberry is thankful to be spending Christmas at home with his family. Pictured sharing a cuddle with his mum Julie. Picture: Neil Richardson.

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He carries the forever scars that serve as a constant reminder of a day when his life changed for good.

Boxing day 2017 will mark 17 years since Matthew Woodberry was involved in a crash that nearly took his life.

Mr Woodberry was just 19-years-old when he lost control of his car along Lilico Road and collided with a power pole.

Looking back, Mr Woodberry still views the crash with disbelief.

“No one thinks they will have such a traumatic experience in life,” Mr Woodberry said. 

A legacy of his experience, Mr Woodberry has become a tireless educator of safe driving with the Rotary Youth Driver Awareness program.

“Hopefully it can prevent someone else having such a life changing experience, or worse a death,” he said.

Suffering a brain injury, Mr Woodberry said he questions his luck.

“I am lucky to survive, but am I lucky? I am perhaps not what I was before,” he said.

Mr Woodberry said it has been a long road to get where he is now.

Once an elite cyclist, he is now back on the bike and looks forward to watching the Christmas carnivals. 

“I have to have assistance to get on which is a bit annoying, but at least I still have the will power to want to get on,” he said.

This Christmas Mr Woodberry will be enjoying the time with his nieces and nephews.

“If I hadn’t survived they wouldn’t have the world’s greatest uncle in their lives,” he said.

Mr Woodberry views his life after the accident as a gift he intends to use by being as involved in the community as possible.

“It is 17 years of extended life thus far and that is a good foundation for the life ahead,” he said.

After Mr Woodberry’s crash he remained unconscious for a  week and did not speak until May 22, 2000.

“I had to learn to do things again – walking, talking, eating – they are all learned processes,” he said.

Mr Woodberry said when getting behind the wheel he wants people to remember the pain a crash causes can have a ripple effect.

“People come across these situations and it is very traumatic,” he said.

“Hundreds of people in circles are affected.”

- The Advocate