IN JULY this year, budding gymnast Hayden Marshall won a gold medal on the horizontal bar at the Victorian Championships, and had a bright athletic future ahead of him.
Now he is in hospital, undergoing intensive spinal rehabilitation after a freak accident on September 10 that has left him paralysed from the chest down.
Hayden, 16, was undergoing gymnastics training on his trampoline at home, when he lost control and landed awkwardly on his neck, fracturing four bones.
He was flown immediately to the Alfred Hospital, where he underwent a seven hour operation.
The full extent of the damage to his spinal cord is not yet known.
Hayden’s father, Ian Marshall, said that Hayden is working hard on improving his condition.
“Hayden had some triceps movement on Thursday, and he’s extremely positive,” Ian said.
“I think he’s certainly doing extra work outside of his physio time! He’s still training hard, just for a different goal now.”
Spinal care and rehabilitation brings enormous financial burden to families affected.
While Hayden undergoes a challenging spinal rehabilitation process, the Phillip Island community has rallied, and set up a GoFundMe account to raise funds to assist in his expensive medical costs and recovery process.
More than $22,000 has already been raised by members of the community, but with a target of $200,000, there is still a long way to go.
Hayden is well known within his community as a hardworking and independent person due to his studies at Newhaven College, involvement in the scouts and working at the trout farm, as well as his gymnastics training.
Ian said that it’s this strength and dedication that is helping him on his road to recovery.
“He’s doing very well for the situation he’s in,” Ian said.
“He’s strong and positive. Hayden’s really our strength.”
To donate to the campaign, visit the GoFundMe website at