Scott Harris traveled the world solo with multiple disabilities to show us we can do anything we put our mind to. After a dirt bike accident in 2008, he spent three years at Epworth Rehabilitation learning to live with these disabilities and came out the other side with a completely new approach to life.
He wrote the book Crashing Into Potential: Living with my injured brain, which tells the story of how he went from zero to hero despite being knocked down many times along the way.
A truly courages, inspirational and extraordinary story of a determined young man to beat the odds, this is a profile in Scott's own words....
In 2008 I was involved in a motorbike accident in Victoria, Australia, that left me with lasting injuries including a Traumatic Brain Injury.
This was due to a severe Closed Head Injury, which resulted in extensive facial fractures, requiring a facial reconstruction.
To reconstruct my face, they bolted 11 titanium plates to my skull.
My TBI was so severe that I sustained extremely severe Frontal Lobe Damage and shearing of the brain.
This has left me with paralysis from my shoulder to my toes down the right hand side of my body, causing major instability issues.
On top of that, I have a Brachial Plexus injury to my right arm involving three severed nerves.
Luckily I have two arms and two legs, because that would suck if I didn’t, right? Unfortunately I don’t have two brains.
Instead, I’m blessed with a damaged one, and I make it work really hard.
On the day of the accident I had my first ride in a helicopter but unfortunately I was in a coma so I couldn’t enjoy it.
I don’t think the heroes who were saving my life had time to enjoy it either. They quickly flew me to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where I stayed for the following 16 days.
Once I had woken up from my coma state and I was out of ICU, they shipped me off to Epworth HealthCare, a rehabilitation centre where I spent the next three years doing countless hours of therapy.
Rehab became my full-time job – a job I took very seriously.
The intense physical and mental rehabilitation which I continue today is the sole reason that I am still alive and where I am.
I have discovered that setting and achieving goals, both mental and physical, keeps me looking forward rather than backwards and each goal I achieve fills me with satisfaction.
It took me a number of years to realise that my life would never be the same as it was before the accident.
Eventually, after four years of some brutal challenges, I needed to escape the life that was starting to consume me.
I found my way out by setting a goal to travel the world solo, which I achieved in 2012–2014 with just a pack on my back and my camera hung over my shoulder.
To my own surprise I returned home 18 months later with my capabilities in tact. A few hiccups along the way, but I made it.
After living with an injured bring since 2008, I have experienced almost every side effect of severe brain damage that you could think of, yet my brain still functions well enough that I can articulate what it’s like to live with such a debilitating disability.
This puts me in a powerful position to help show people what I and others, with an injured brain, live with every day.
I do this by running a Brain Injury Workshop, which I have designed with the help of health professionals to bring awareness to some of the difficulties a TBI patient may experience.
I also share, through my keynote speaking, the valuable lessons that this journey has taught me.
These lessons aren’t just for others living with an injured brain, they are ‘life’ lessons for anyone living ‘life.
As well as running the workshops, I love to inspire people through my keynote speaking where I can take you through the nuts and the bolts of being resilient and achieving your own personal goals in your own life no matter what hurdles you have to overcome.
Scott Harris has come back from the dead.
His story is both compelling and inspiring.John Silvester Crime Writer, The Age Co-author of Underbelly
I found Scott’s presentation inspiring, uplifting and his use of humor was both unexpected (given the gravity of the situation) and very clever.
His professionalism and the warmth with which he communicated with the audience were excellent.
I loved the way he shared his story and my experience was of being touched, moved and inspired.
Scott you have a very powerful message and one that makes a differenceMaree McCabe - Chief Executive Officer Alzheimer's Australia
Scott is an amazing young man with such an uplifting and inspiring spirit.
From where he has come from to where he is now is motivation for anyone to achieve great things in life.
His honest and touching story really resonates with everyone from all ages and walks of life.
Scott is a great motivator for anyone to who is stuck in a rut and cannot achieve their goals. Inspirational.Michelle Sandford - Technical Account Manager Microsoft
Mesmerizing from the start to the end, Scott is a storyteller of the highest order.
His journey is raw and inspiring refusing to shy away from the topics that can upset people, I would highly recommend Scott to speak at any event you are havingAyden Shaw - Sport and Recreation Manager Disability Sport & Recreation
I would like to thank Scott, for inspiring me at a time when I truly felt lost. Year 12, and the pressure’s we all feel to decide your life’s path at such a young age is tough, however the impact Scott Harris’s story has had on my life, and my choice of career is enormous.
Scott’s story of courage, determination and positivity is the sole reason I decided to study to become an occupational therapist.
Scott’s passion, and message of courage inspired me to choose a career that will allow me to help people to live their lives independently.
In 2015, I completed my Masters of Occupational Therapy, and am now a qualified Occupational Therapist.
Thank you Scott, for inspiring me to follow the career path I never knew I wanted, but am forever grateful for!Caitlin Smith - Student St Helena College
I have known Scott for many years and have had him speak to staff and students at ELTHAM College over the past three years.
His story, the way he presents it, and the response he receives from people of all ages has been consistent and outstanding.
His natural, honest and inspiring story and presentation has the ability to motivate students to just 'have a go' and never feel you cannot achieve your goals.
A wonderful young man with a will to achieve great things.Mark Pobjoy - Director, Senior Year - ELTHAM College
Thank-you for coming to speak to our Year 10 students as a part of their Career Education program.
Your talk was engaging, touching and relevant. You captured the interest of the girls from the very outset and they were with you for the entirety of your journey, laughing, crying and most of all gaining a true understanding of what can be achieved with a positive mindset.
Personally, I had Goosebumps listening to you, you are an inspiring young man with a fantastic message.
We will definitely have you back to spread the word.Colleen Devlin - Careers Advisor Penhros College, Perth