In conversation with Ajeya Raj The Para Champion By Anubha Singhai

Ajay, please tell us about the horrifying accident that changed the course of your life. 

In the year 2006 immediately after my 10th exams I incurred a life changing accident which left me paralyzed below my neck. Yes In a split second I could no longer move any part of my body but my neck!! I had suffered 95% disability and what lay ahead was a life of complete dependency for each and every activity of my daliy life. The future was nothing less than a nightmare as it involved running from pillar to post in hope and desperation to seek optimal medical care post my injury. As I belong to a small village in Jharkand, India there was lack of proper and adequate medical care required for management of  spinal cord injury.

How did Boccia draw your interest and attention?

Pre injury I was a vivid sports player. Post my injury my I was left hopeless and helpless. I always wanted to excel in sports but all my dreams got shattered because I sustained major injury causing 95% of physical disability. At this hour social media came to rescue. While mindless scrolling on internet I learnt about the game Boccia. I digged deeper into it and tried to contact officials for the game. Started reading and watching lot of videos about the game. Then boom! As they say spring is sure to follow after a harsh winter. And my journey in the game begun.

What motivates you to keep up the Spirits?

My family.They have never let my spirits down. My biggest motivator. I aspire to give the best facilities to my family.

Who has been your Inspiration and pillar of Strength?

Inspiration- Mr Shivjeet Singh Raghav (peer counseller)  and Stephen Hawking. They both have similar disabilities and yet excelled in their lives. Their indomitable spirit has been a great inspiration.

Pillar of strength - Undoubtedly Chandigarh Spinal Rehab. When I had lost all hopes when I was in despair, it was Chandigarh Spinal Rehab who made me who I am today. Chandigarh Spinal Rehab still remains the major pillar of strength.

How important has been the role of Rehab in your case?

Rehab changed my perspective of living my life altogether. When I had lost all hopes rehab gave a new meaning to my life. Because of proper rehab I learnt I too can move around  on a chin operated motorised wheelchair according to my will and not be dependent on someone to push me around. I learnt that I can do a lot many things with my head and neck. I learnt how to manage my liquid input and output and manage my bowel and bladder regularly to keep them away from infections. Rehab helped me increase my respiratory capacity and also gave me insight into dealing with horrendous pressure ulcers. Rehab gave me a new life.

When was the first time you worked with a Physio?

When I reached at Rehabilitation centre.

Share your preparations for a Boccia Tournament?

I train myself for Boccia every single day except for the days I'm traveling or I'm unwell. But yes when teh tournament is near, I make sure I do not have any cheat days. I keep a check on my diet and water intake. Boccia training goes for 8-10 hours a day everyday for 2-3 months. I make sure that my health is optimal so that there are no sick days

Message you would like to give to anyone who has survived such a tragic turn in life.

My message to all that be strong and think Positively because everything is dependence on your thought. If you think you are disabled,  you will be but if you ignore the "dis" word you will surely find your ability . What you are , who you are , what is you have , don't think that what you Don't have just thought what is you have and go with that. Just cheers your ability and live life to the fullest. 

Message to the Physios across the world? 

My message to all the Rehab professionals across the word is you guys are doing a great job. There are a lot of problems after spinal cord injury which you guys help us tackle. Please make sure you guys give us the best because any sort of mal- treatment or wrong practice can create huge problems for us. 




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