A LEVEN athlete is dreaming of making the Great Britain 2016 Paralympic Games after recovering from a serious motorbike accident.
In 2010, Derek Rae suffered massive injuries down the right side of his body, including his arm, ribs, shoulder, head and eyes.
Derek (26), a member of the Anster Haddies, had been a keen runner before the accident – which made him consider giving up the sport.
However, the distance athlete decided instead to persevere, and not let his life-changing accident put the breaks on his love of running.
The official diagnosis for Derek (pictured right) is a brachial plexis injury but, thanks to expert rehabilitation from the physiotherapy teams at the Victoria Hospital and Queen Margaret Hospital, and this young man’s incredible determination and resilience, he was back running in no time at all, and ran the 2011 Edinburgh Marathon in 3 hours 22 minutes.
The extensive damage to the right side of his body requires Derek to run with a purpose-designed sling to support the arm, which would otherwise hang limply at the side of his body.
Towards the end of 2011, Derek made contact with Disability Sport Fife (DSF).
Because of the extent of his injuries, and because he has now been classified by a panel of IPC Athletics classifiers, Derek can now compete nationally as a high-performance disabled athlete, as well as for his beloved Anster Haddies.
The president of DSF, Richard Brickley, told the Mail: “Unfortunately for Derek, the London Paralympic Games of 2012 have come a little bit early but he is determined that he will be a real GB possibility for the team for Rio in 2016.
“Derek’s major focus of 2012 is to improve on his Edinburgh Marathon time of the past and he is confident a sub-three hour marathon time is within his capabilities at some time in the future.
“Performance selection for major competitions and improved times are obviously important to Derek, as they are for every athlete with his exceptional skills and abilities.
“Derek, however, will be the first to admit the friendships he has made and experiences he has gained, and still enjoys in the present, are what attract him to road and hill running.
“He is passionate about being a club member and values enormously his fellow club members and the support he received from them before and after his accident.
“His family life and job also mean an enormous amount to him.”