AJ Venter

'I couldn't get up. It felt like I was dying'


Alwyn Uys' rugby dreams were shattered when a car accident in 2014 left him paralysed from the waist down. He told former Springbok flank AJ VENTER what happened during a 'Life with AJ' podcast.

'Rugby was my absolute favourite sport at school and I was desperate to pursue a career in it.

'I actually played against Siya Kolisi when Nico Malan was still able to play against Grey High. They absolutely destroyed us!

'You have a new perspective on somebody if you've played against them, even though for me it was at a very young age. I feel so lucky to have played in that era and among a few guys who became World Cup champions.

'From school, I went to the Sharks Academy in 2009 and played there for a year. I then went on to study at Stellenbosch University and played for Maties.

'I finished my degree and moved back to my hometown, St Francis, to work for my dad.

'On Friday, 13 September 2014, I was on my way to Kirkwood from St Francis to see my girlfriend at the time. I took my eyes off the road for a split second and ended up flipping my car. And I wasn't wearing my seatbelt because my arm was in a sling due to a rugby injury.

'In the process, I fell out of the window and broke my neck, back, shoulder, ribs and femur, so I couldn't get up. It felt like I was dying. And just like that, life was never the same.

'I was just so thankful that my accident didn't affect my brain. I was lucky enough to get my honours in financial management after my accident.

'I have the use of half of my body as I am paralysed from the waist down. And that is more than a lot of people have. There's always somebody worse off than you.

'My life took a completely different direction. It took me away from rugby but kept me in sport, which made me realise that God still had a purpose for me in sport despite being in a major accident.'

– Watch AJ's full conversation with Alwyn below. Subscribe to AJ's YouTube channel and like his Facebook page.