Cameron Carr with grade six Springfield Anglican College students Dylan Mason and Leonorah Hui.
Cameron Carr with grade six Springfield Anglican College students Dylan Mason and Leonorah Hui. Claudia Baxter

Paralympic star tackles disabilities

GRADE six students at Springfield Anglican College got a special lesson this week when Paralympic wheelchair rugby player Cameron Carr visited the kids.

Mr Carr, a former Springfield resident, is visiting schools as part of an Australian Paralympic Committee initiative to teach children about sports for athletes with disabilities.

The 34-year-old quadriplegic told students about living with a disability and the opportunities he had received by being involved in Paralympic sport.

Mr Carr said he became involved in the game, affectionately called "Murderball", after watching it on television during the Sydney Olympics.

"I was watching it on TV at the Sydney 2000 games and I decided it would be a good way to keep fit," he said.

"I ended up enjoying it and then hearing all the travel tales about the places they get to go was a big carrot to get involved."

Bryanna Palmer, 11, was one of the children to here the former junior rugby league star's story.

Mr Carr told the schoolchildren about the car accident that resulted in his broken neck at a time he was set to play professional football for the Sydney Roosters.

Bryanna, a talented junior swimmer herself, said the talk was inspirational.

"He told us it took a while to get used to being in a wheelchair," she said. "He also told us about his experience playing at the Olympics."

Anyone who has addressed a room full of 11-year-olds knows question time can be a slippery slope and the Springfield kids didn't disappoint.

"They asked me how I go to the toilet - in fact I think they waited outside," Mr Carr said.

"They also asked if I like being in a wheelchair, that's a pretty common one."

Mr Carr will head to London next year as part of the Australian Wheelchair Rugby Team.

He said he hopes the team can go one better than the silver medal the team won in Beijing.

"Last year's world champs was probably our best performance at a major meet," he said.

"Unfortunately we left our worst performance for the final game.

"Hopefully we can capitalise on that form in London.

"Otherwise we could find ourselves looking for work."

Following his incredible experience in Beijing, he said he couldn't wait to get to London.

"The Chinese have set a standard, they were unbelievable," he said. "All our games were sold out and I've heard recently all our games in London are also sold out."

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