Laureus

Laureus nominee Josh Landmann chats to Sport24

2017-09-27 08:38
Josh Landmann (Instagram)

Cape Town - Josh Landmann was left partially paralysed from just below the chest after diving into a pool and breaking his neck.

Vote for September's most emotional sporting moment!

However, the 23-year-old was determined not to let his disability hold him back and managed to conquer the Tough Mudder event to raise money for Spinal Research.

The video has received over 17 million views on social media and Landmann has now set his sights on competing at the 2022 Winter Paralympics while inspiring others in the process.

Landmann's extraordinary feat has earned him a nomination as one of Laureus' Best Sporting Moments for September.

To view Landmann's video, as well as all the other nominations, and to VOTE for your favourite, visit myLaureus.com.

In an exclusive interview with Sport24, Landmann spoke openly regarding the role his family have played in his life since the accident, being nominated for the Laureus award and what the future holds...

Sport24: At 20 you’re care-free with the world at your feet. You dive into a swimming pool and your life changes in an instant. How does one come to terms with such an incident? 

Landmann: It was very hard to come to terms with at first whilst lay flat on my back, bed ridden for 2.5 weeks in Spain, with none of my closest friends able to come and visit. It was once I was then flown home back to Preston, England, where I did come to terms with it and said to myself "come on Josh, you need to buck your ideas up and just get on with rebuilding my life". I was always used to physiotherapy and training in the gym as it was important to the sports I used to play regularly before such as rugby and hockey, so even though it wasn't the same kind of stuff I was used to doing, it wasn't a chore for me as I enjoyed it all before. 

Sport24: Do you have any words of inspiration and encouragement for those in a similar situation to you?

Landmann: The best advice I would give to anyone would probably be, don't let it defeat you. It’s very easy to give up after suffering a spinal cord injury as your life just changes massively. I was in the worst place I've ever been in my life, but realised if I let it defeat me, it would bring everyone around me down especially my parents and I knew I would have lost a hell of a lot of friends. You do have the down days, I still do now, but those are the days when you overcome them, that makes you stronger. Anything is possible after a spinal cord injury, we just have to do things in different ways which may take a bit longer to do, but there’s no reason why we can't. If you've just had you're injury and are lay in hospital, stay as positive as you can, try not to think too much, and keep socialising, whether it be over the internet or even with a nurse in the ward. 

Sport24: For those who don’t know much about the Tough Mudder event, what exactly does it entail?

Landmann: Well, a Tough Mudder event is basically an obstacle course based event. There are many different types of Tough Mudder’s from 10k's to 24 hour events. It’s all about team work and helping others around you, it’s not a race. There are a wide range of obstacles from swimming under obstacles in freezing cold water to climbing 15ft vertical, overhanging walls; not an accessible route for any wheelchair, let’s put it that way! 

Sport24: Your father has been a key figure in your life, especially since the accident. How important are family and friends in dealing with such a life-changing incident?

Landmann: They are the most important. To be honest, I don't think I would have had as much positivity as I have without the support and encouragement from family and friends. From the day I arrived back at Preston Royal hospital, to the day I left Southport Spinal Unit, I had at least one of my friends there every night visiting me. I never wanted them to treat me any different as they used to and that’s what they've done. I think that’s really important as well; yeah we might be in a wheelchair but it doesn’t make us any different to anyone else, or worth less than anyone else. I do get a lot of looks and people staring at me at times but I just brush it off as so many people don't know the situation so I just don't let it bother me. It’s nice to get help from people, but it’s also very important to be independent as much as you can. 

Sport24: Competing at the 2022 Winter Paralympics is a goal of yours. Anything else you’ve got your sights set on in the near future?

Landmann: Competing at the 2022 Winter Paralympics is my main goal and dream. I remember saying when I was still in Southport, that’s what I wanted to do - represent my country at a winter games in alpine skiing. It’s still my main goal, but is very hard to do as there isn't any funding through the Team GB team to help support the athletes coming through, and it costs minimum £1500 per training camp. To be able to compete with the best I need to be out on the slopes every day of the season but at the moment without sponsorship it’s just not viable at the moment. I've actually been in contact with GB ParaTriathlon, and have an assessment/trail on the 25 & 26th October. I’m very new to the sport so hopefully I can show them how driven I am and what I can do already, without having any professional training. It would just be amazing to be able compete at a Summer Games as well as a Winter Games. I'm currently training for the 2018 London Marathon, where I've been ask to compete as a Lucozade athlete on the day. Training is going well, but its only early and still got a long way to go. I am keen on venturing abroad to take part in some Tough Mudder events, but that’s all in planning for the future. 

Sport24: Your reaction to the news of being nominated for Laureus’ ‘Best Sporting Moment of the Year’ and what does the Laureus World Sports Academy mean to you?

Landmann: I'm honoured to even be nominated for the award, but if I win it would just be the icing on the cake. I'm just making the most of the moment and any opportunities that I'm given at the moment. Even if people have watched the video and have been inspired by it, to me that means I've won. Since this video went viral, and from all the messages, comments, etc. I've received from people from all over the world saying I’ve inspired them to get up and do something, all I've wanted to do is just keep that going, helping people who may be in the or a worse situation from me is important and something that keeps pushing me to do what I'm doing.

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