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.
those who don’t know much about the Tough Mudder event, what exactly does it
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?
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?
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.