A broken neck and ribs, fractures in his lower spine and the grim possibility of being permanently paralysed are among the obstacles UKZN Prestige Sports Scholarship recipient, Mr Stuart Hogg, had to overcome after being involved in car accident.
Hogg, who is a Canoeist, had to undergo extensive physical rehabilitation to be able to get back into his boat again. He persevered and has gone on to be the first person ever to represent South Africa as a para-canoeist at the Senior World Championships.
Competing at the Championships at Duisburg in Germany in 2013 proved Hogg’s determination and tenacity.
‘I got into canoeing when I was nine-years-old after watching my older brother at a school’s race and becoming instantly keen,’ said Hogg.
‘I had many highlights in my career as an able bodied athlete including at Junior and U23 level where I competed at a few World championships and won the SA Sprint champs Junior Victor Ludorum in 2007,’ said Hogg.
‘But after my car accident it took me a long time to just be confident walking again. I still face neurological challenges from disabilities sustained from my injuries but I am really grateful to be able to do most things.’
The Bachelor of Commerce Honours graduate is currently training to represent South Africa again as a para-canoeist at the next Senior World Championships.
‘I got married earlier this year to my girlfriend of eight years, Cailin who is very supportive of my road to representing South Africa again as a para-canoeist. Being awarded the scholarship means so much to me.
For a long time after my accident, I didn’t believe I would get to where I am now. It is really one of the biggest highlights of my sports career - off the water,’ he said.
Hogg currently works at Mass discounters’ (Game & DionWired) IT department as a Junior Business Analyst after joining their graduate programme last year.
His future plans include pursuing his master’s degree and gaining the experience necessary to become a senior business analyst.
‘I decided not to compete this year while I was starting a new job and settling in Durban. My last international race was last year at Senior World Champs in Milan, Italy. I am keen to race next year in both sprints and marathon, especially with world marathon champs being in Pietermaritzburg next year. It would be great to race here at home,’ he said.