Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Horror Accident in Wade's Wake

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Horror Accident in Wade's Wake

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Zemek

FIFTEEN years ago four-time national water ski champion Wade Bennett was badly injured after a horrific high-speed accident.

Competing in the Mildura 100 in country Victoria, Bennett Co who now bases himself at Noosa Co lost control as he crossed the finish line at 180kmh.

In the ensuing chaos he was knocked unconscious as his body was ripped by the unforgiving water. He broke his hip and pelvis, dislocated and fractured his arm, as well as tearing the artery and sciatica nerve in his right leg.

Horrifically, his bladder, bowel and intestines exploded into his wetsuit after he tore a hole in his abdomen.

He spent the next 17 days in a coma, has undergone 52 operations and has had to learn how to walk again three times.

While he lives in daily pain as a reminder of the accident, which left him partially paralysed, it hasn't dampened his rosy outlook on life and zeal to achieve.

He has since founded his own successful clothing company, Bad Lad Australia.

During the 2000 Sydney Olympics he was the national placard bearer and given the honour of leading the Australian team on to the Homebush Stadium arena during the opening and closing ceremonies.

In 1998 he made his return to water-skiing Co the sport which delivered him four Australian titles, 27 state titles and 13 state championships Co at the Southern 80 on the Murray River in northern Victoria.

Competing in the disabled division, he smashed 40 seconds off the longstanding competition record held by former world champion and Woodford-based skier Ernest CyBushy' Brown.

It is fitting then that when Bennett, 38, returns to the water for the second time in 11 years early next month, it will be at the Southern 80, where he hopes to break his own mark, which still stands.

"I grew up in Victoria and the Southern 80 was such a big part of my youth," he said of the competition which he first competed in as a nine-year-old. …

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