The Raceview Senior men's Division 1 White church soccer team with inspirational coach Rohan Sills.
The Raceview Senior men's Division 1 White church soccer team with inspirational coach Rohan Sills.

Wheelchair-bound Rohan’s wonderful community example

IF more teams had coaches like inspirational Rohan Sills, the regional sporting fields would be a better place.

The Raceview Senior men's Division 1 White side has endured a tough season after being promoted from Division 2 last year.

However, having a highly motivated paraplegic Ipswich man guiding able-bodied church soccer players puts everything in perspective.

Rohan provides a valuable community lesson about dealing with adversity.

Rohan, 30, was seriously injured after falling three metres while working as a fourth-year apprentice carpenter on a construction site at Robina in 2016.

He was left paralysed from the chest down.

However, after confronting the inevitable challenges of such a life-changing mishap, Rohan is setting a wonderful example coaching the Raceview team.

Although his side has struggled in a higher division without some players due to the coronavirus, wheelchair-bound Rohan has maintained a positive outlook.

"I'm glad to be involved with the club,'' he said, having played soccer from when he was nine until his accident.

"I'm used to being in a wheelchair for four years now. You just find ways around it.

"There's still tough days now. It took me a while to get my head around it all.

"It's massive change and you don't think it's ever going to happen to you.''

Ipswich soccer player Rohan Sills fell through a stairwell on a construction site at Robina in 2016. He is pictured in hospital after the fall.
Ipswich soccer player Rohan Sills fell through a stairwell on a construction site at Robina in 2016. He is pictured in hospital after the fall.

Not being able to run around with teammates was particularly difficult, especially when Rohan was a former player/coach.

"I had played soccer my whole life so it was hard to get back to,'' he said.

"Even now I find it hard sometimes sitting on the sidelines not being able to get out there with the boys.

"It took me a while just to be able to deal with that, not being able to play.

"Now that I've got to that point, it's good to get back there and try and help out and do some coaching.''

Preparing for Raceview's final game of the season against Whitehill today, Rohan praised his Raceview team for heeding his get on with it message.

"We gave it our best,'' he said.

"In last weekend's game we still lost but it got to a point where I was trying to teach them all year to have fun no matter what happens.

"They are in a tough division but they're trying to learn. It's better to have fun and enjoy it rather than get angry with each other and themselves.

"I was just proud that they were finally doing that.''

Rohan is keen to do more coaching having a lot of friends at the community-minded Raceview club.

"I'm doing as much as I can,'' the Deebing Heights resident said.

"It is hard when you can't just get up and show them exactly what you want them to do. But you take a little bit of extra time and make sure you explain yourself properly.''

Raceview club chairman Billy Diehm said Rohan was a fantastic asset.

"Rohan is a remarkable young man who grew up as a junior and then senior player in the club,'' Diehm said.

"I am not aware of too many elite men's teams in able bodied competitions being trained by a man who is similar age to the players and who is a paraplegic.

"Rohan has been training this side from pre-season when they learnt they were being promoted from Division 2 to Division 1 in February, and then in June, we learnt that the season would restart.

"He has done a wonderful job training this side.

"The players have been wonderful as they have helped him sometimes get himself on to the sidelines at fields for matches and training.''

As for the latest 10 week winter church soccer season finishing this weekend, Diehm said it had been "a bumpy ride through the ever changing COVID landscape''.

"But it has been a great success with so many smiles on the faces of players on the field and parents on the sidelines. They have all adapted to the COVID requirements well and been happy to do so to ensure community sport happens.''

Seeing dedicated people like Rohan contributing to the club is what sport is all about.



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