Paul Redon was your regular hard working family man averaging a 50 hour week but a devastating work place injury turned his life upside down.
Paul received several crushed discs which left him house bound for three years.
Feeling depressed, lonely and generally just missing human interaction he made an important decision to visit and join the East Maitland Bowling Club after being advised by a mate to maybe try lawn bowls.
It was a fateful move and one Redon and the man who guided his initial introduction to the sport Clay Parker were able to look back on with a sense of accomplishment and joy last week.
Parker worked out a strategy for Redon to to play bowls with the injuries he had sustained.
Initially, Redon started with a bowling arm, an extendable artificial arm so bowlers do not have to bend over. He handled the arm with ease but after 30 minutes of walking up and down the green aided by a walking stick his injured back contributed to his legs collapsing.
The first lesson was unfortunately stopped there but the two men were determined to give Redon an ongoing outlet.
"I rang my friend Mark Whiteman who was the regional bowls manager, who then contacted Joe Shoebridge (Wheel Chair Sports) and together they managed to track down a second hand wheel chair at Rathmines Bolwling Club specially designed for using on lawn bowls greens," Parker said.
Paul has now joined Wheelchair Sports where he will compete against bowlers that have similar disabilities.
In further good news his insurance company has just approved the purchase of a new chair worth $4500.
Parker said his mate Mark Whiteman had now moved on to take a new position in the disable sector and he had taken up his position with Bowls Australia,.
"Bob Smith is now Paul's coach at Easts and Paul is having regular lessons to prepare himself for club and wheelchair competitions," Parker said.
Redon said the after meeting with other wheelchair bowlers he had also taken up archery and is taking part at "Feral Archery"in Rutherford.
"I've gone from sitting at home with no social life for three years to now participating in two sports," Redon said.
He also has a new set of mates who know exactly what he has been through including Anthony Lane, who is a regular wheelchair bowler at East Maitland and has been playing since 1997.
Lane is a current pennant player at the club and in is his prime played against many International bowlers from all over the world.
Parker said Anthony was asked to take Paul under his wing and gladly took up the opportunity to pass on his wealth of knowledge regarding wheelchair bowling.
"I suppose the moral of the story is if your incapacitated or disabled in any way and sitting at home with nothing to do, get down to your local bowling club and see how you can get involved in the sport," Parker said.
East Maitland also hosts blind bowlers from a Guide Dog Society team.