01 March 2021 – Getting my Drivers License

Hayden’s on the Road

Before my accident in 2016 I had my learners permit and I had done around 30 hours of driving. Shortly after my accident Vic Roads automatically suspended my license until I was fit to drive again.

When I was at the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre I never thought I would be able to drive again, but thanks to the support from some incredible mentors and Beau Vernon, I soon discovered that it was possible.  

They showed me how they got into and out of their car, how they put their wheelchair in the car and what hand controls they use.  Once I knew it was something I could do I set out on the journey to get my learners back and eventually obtain my full license.

First, I had to learn to transfer into and out of a car.  Being a quadriplegic, I am paralysed from the chest down, so moving in this way was a huge feat.  The first time this took about 1 hour with two people assisting, I was exhausted and wanted to give up, but the next day I tried again, and it took me 45 minutes.  By the time I left rehab I got my transfer time down to about 30 minutes, I still had a long way to go. I trained in my gym every day and worked on regaining function and strength within my body, I knew that this would give me the best chance of achieving my goal and regaining my independence. 

About a year after getting home from rehab I had a driving assessment to see what hand controls I required and to see if I was fit to drive again. The assessor said I was ok to drive and once I found the hand controls, it was time to get myself a car.

I spent about 5-6 months looking for the right car. It had to be a good height to transfer into and I wanted a few specific features like automatic window wipers, automatic head lights, cruise control, reversing senses etc. I finally found the perfect car, a Subaru Impreza which is an absolutely amazing car.   I was able to have many upgraded features installed on the car to make it easier for me to drive thanks to the community fundraising efforts just after my accident. 

Once I had my car, I went to many different shops that specialises in installing hand controls, to talk about what they think would work in my car. I decided on ones that I can accelerate and brake with my right hand and steer with my left hand, these would cost around $11,000. So, I applied to get them funded through the NDIS, once they were approved, I could finally get my car fitted with everything I needed to drive. It took about a month for the hand controls to be installed but when they were done, I was ok to drive (well sort of) I still only had my learners permit and I needed to get 120 hours before I could sit the test for my probationary license.

Over the next couple of years, I did lots of driving with Mum (Sharron Marshall), Dad (Ian Marshall) and Phillip Island local, Chris Dallinger.  Chris has been helping me with my gym training and offered to assist with my driving lessons, I would not have got my hours without him.  I kept practising my transfers into and out of the car and l can now do it on my own in under 10 minutes. This includes getting my chair into the car, by fully disassembling it and placing it on the passenger seat.

After I achieved 120 hours of driving, I decided to have a few extra lessons with Stan Gates from Bass Coast Driving School.  I then had to sit another OT assessment which involved a physical check before the drive and an assessment on the road.  I was lucky enough to find an OT that was also a Vic Roads registered driving assessor, so I could do both at the same time. This meant that if I passed, I could get my probationary license and be able to drive on my own.

It was a 30-minute driving assessment and at the end I found out that I passed. I was so excited but because I had to do the OT assessment as well, that had to be sent into the Vic Roads medical review team to be approved, this took around 30 days. When it was finally approved, I went to a Vic roads service centre to pay for my license, I could finally drive on my own.

Now that I have my license, I am driving myself everywhere, I am also planning to go on a lot of adventures and road trips all around Victoria with my family and friends. A future goal is to convert a van into the ultimate wheelchair friendly camper and travel around Australia.  I hope to continue to inspire people showing them that anything is possible if you set a goal, having a great support network and a community behind you.  

11 December 2019 – The Y – A Million Moments

HAYDEN’S STORY – The Y, A Million Moments

A MIllion Moments - Hayden.1

In September 2016, an afternoon of practicing his latest trampoline tricks in the backyard of his family home turned into Hayden’s worst nightmare. After a front flip gone wrong, the young gymnast’s neck was broken in four places and doctors gave him a 3% chance of ever walking again.

In the face of such devastation, Hayden’s response was simple – “Well, I just have to be part of that 3%.”

In the three years since his accident, Hayden’s recovery has been nothing short of miraculous. Looking at him now it’s hard to believe that he was once labelled a quadriplegic for life. Hayden humbly credits his remarkable strength and optimism to his background in gymnastics, which began when he started training in a YMCA program at the age of 8.

Earlier this year, he began using the spin bike on his own without having his feet strapped in. It seems unbelievable, but he’s doing it, through years of hard work and grit to move his hips.

As a complete quadriplegic, he shouldn’t have any working tricep muscles, but through training, he’s regained them – alongside muscles in his biceps, forearm, wrists and chest.

“Being a gymnast gave me that really strong mental strength to overcome challenges,” says Hayden. “Also being heavily involved in the scout association and being here at The Y – everything prior to my accident made me the person that I am and gave me strength.”

Shortly after his accident, Hayden looked to the Y for a role coaching in the very gymnastics program that gave him his start.

“I was really worried when Hayden first came back to the island that it would be emotionally difficult for him to come back into the stadium,” admits Rebecca, Area Manager at the Phillip Island Y branch. “He wasn’t fazed by it at all. He was looking forward to getting back and seeing those kids. And they absolutely just wrapped themselves around him.”

For Hayden, coaching with the Y provided the stability that he needed during such a difficult time. “Everything in my life had changed and my world was turned upside down, so it was good to come back to The Y and have a bit of normality,” explains Hayden. “I’m able to come work out at the gym when I’m not coaching. It’s almost a home away from home.”

The road to recovery wasn’t always clear, but Hayden refused to accept defeat and with the help of family, friends and everyone at his local Y, he started to bounce back. “I wanted to continue my recovery not only to prove the doctors wrong, but to show everyone in the community that their support doesn’t go unnoticed.”

With the community behind him and the nay-sayers underfoot, Hayden made great strides in his recovery and soon enough he had almost complete autonomy of his arms. Then came his appearance on television show, ‘This Time Next Year’.

In 2017, Hayden declared to an audience of millions around the country, that he would walk again in one year’s time. “I knew this was going to be a massive challenge, but I stand by my motto ‘one nerve at a time’,” says Hayden. “I wasn’t going to be able to get up and walk in one day. It had to happen one nerve at a time.”

One year later Hayden returned to Australia’s screens, walking onto the stage with the use of crutches and inspiring thousands with just a few steps.

With his mobility continuing to improve one nerve at a time, Hayden has high hopes for the future. He hopes to keep on inspiring the people in his life, especially the young gymnasts he mentors at The Y. He’s also looking forward to getting his driver’s licence so that he can reach a new level of independence. But wherever Hayden’s future may take him, he will always have a home at The Y.

“Being a gymnast gave me that really strong mental strength to overcome challenges,”
says Hayden. “Also being heavily involved in the scout association and being
here at The Y – everything prior to my accident made me the person that I am
and gave me strength.”

– Hayden


26 January 2019 -Australia Day Award: Bass Coast Young Citizen of the year

I would like to start off by saying what an honour it is to win this award here tonight. I would like to thank my friends family and the entire community for everyone’s support.

On the 10th of September 2016 I had a trampoline accident breaking my neck in 4 places and suffering a spinal cord injury leaving me a complete C5 quadriplegic

When I first had my accident in 2016 my manager Rebecca from the Phillip Island YMCA said to my mum that there are lots of people in wheelchairs all over the world working for the YMCA so my position as a gymnastics coach still stands.

My Speech:

After 6 months in hospital I finally came home, I went back to school at Newhaven College and have just completed year 12, I also started back gymnastics coaching initially I was just a helper for the other coaches

It took me a while to get back into coaching again mainly because I didn’t know how the kids where going to react and I had to learn a new coaching technique because I can no longer demonstrate skills. Lucky the kids were all very supportive and just happy to have me back in the gym. I now coach my own classes with the help of junior coach to help demonstrate skills and set up things for me

In June last year I completed 2 judging courses and I am now a qualified gymnastics judge for Victoria.

Since my accident I have been doing lots of rehab to hopefully prove the doctors wrong who gave me a 3% chance of walking again. I have been making lots of improvements with my recovery and continue to work every day on getting more function back. I like to show people especially the kids I teach that you can do anything you put your mind to.

I believe life is about choices and when I had my accident I could have chosen to accept that my life was over,
instead l chose to work hard to get back to doing everything that I was doing before my accident.

I would like to finish off by thanking the people of Bass Coast who modified my house and fundraised for me and my family, I wouldn’t be where I am today without all their support.

10 September 2018 – 2 years since my accident


Today marks 2 years since the trampoline accident that changed my life forever..

What a crazy couple of years it has been, I have had many challenges but everyone has been there to help and support me through my journey. Thanks to my friends, family, the community, Newhaven College, the YMCA, Tom Ware from NeuroPhysics Therapist, team at the Next Step and my amazing Mum, Dad and brothers Rory and Toby. I wouldn’t be where I am today without everyone’s support.

It hasn’t been easy but I’m always up for a challenge and I will always try my best to achieve my goals. I am excited to see what the next two years have in store for me.

10 March 2018 – 18 months since my accident


Well it’s been an incredible 6 months.  Tom Ware from Neurophysics has been flying down from the Gold Coast every 4 weeks.  We have been working hard and Tom is an amazing support to me.  He sets the training schedule for me for the next 4 weeks and we speak on the phone regularly.

I have been able to make many new connections within my body.  So far I have regained many muscles and tendons, but I will need to work on them to increase my strength.  I now have activation of my triceps, hand, some fingers, back, chest, stomach, lats, glutes, hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, abductors, achilles and I can breathe normally. I also have some sensation returning, but this will take time to develop.

I was very grateful to receive a training scholarship at The Next Step spinal cord injury recovery centre in Epping.  I have been training with them a couple of days a week and have seen the my body getting stronger. My balance and standing has improved immensely and the connections and reflexes in my body have also improved a lot.

10 September 2017 – 1 year since my accident


Since leaving the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre l have gone back to school and returned to gymnastic coaching .

I flew to the Gold Coast for 4 weeks and attended the Neurophysics Therapy Institute, They showed me how to train and connect with my body to try and restore function.  I have continued to work hard on regaining function and coordination “one nerve at a time” with the help of Tom Ware from Neurophysics who has been traveling to my home every 6 weeks.

I have also been training at home with my family and with Bek from the Phillip Island YMCA, the team at Neuromoves who are helping me increase my strength. Over the next 12 months I will continue to work hard and challenge this injury “one nerve at a time”. I can’t wait to see what the next year has to bring.

23 March 2017 – 6 months since my accident

After 194 days in hospital I am leaving hospital/rehab and returned home to my Mum, Dad and brothers Rory and Toby. I would like to thank my family including extended family and friends who visited and supported me over the last 6 months.

Also I would like to thank you to the Newhaven College and the Phillip Island YMCA for their support to me and my family over the past 6 months.  I hope to be returning to school and coaching gymnastics soon.

After a 7 hour operation I woke up in ICU and could only raise my hands about 10cms and I couldn’t feel anything below my chest. During this time my family and friends formed a dedicated recovery team to help me regain further functions.  They used massaged and electronic nerve stimulation on my limbs.  We did extra training sessions in the gym and used an electronic push bike daily.

Since then I have regained my triceps, tendons in my lower arm and I have started to regain some slight finger movement in my right hand.  I have also regained feeling in several areas below my chest.

Now that I have finished my rehab program I have decided to discover if further recovery is possible.  So Mum, Dad and I are flying to the Gold Coast next month to start working with the Neurophysics team.

Ken Ware, the founder of Neurophysics will work with me to explore the possibilities of reactivating nerve pathways.  This will be the first stage in my recovery, I am determined to do all that I can to get stronger and recovery more from my body.

2017 03 23 coming home

10 September 2016 – My Accident

On the 10th September 2016 I was training on our backyard trampoline when I under rotated a double front flip and landed awkwardly on my head breaking my neck in 4 different places and suffering a spinal-cord injury.

It took 6 ambulance officers 1 hour to get me off the trampoline.  I was then rushed to the Alfred hospital in a helicopter for a 7 hour operation where they put me back together using 8 screws a titanium plate and part of my hip bone.

I spent 11 days in the intensive care unit (ICU) where the amazing nurses and doctors worked hard to keep me alive and teach me how to breathe again.

I spent 2 weeks at the Austin Hospital where I started my rehabilitation, this is where I was first well enough to get out of bed into an electricity wheelchair for short amounts of time. While I was there I also had to relearn how to feed myself and brush my teeth.

I was at the royal talbot rehabilitation centre for 5.5 months learning to do everyday tasks again. I had to learn how to get myself in and out of bed, dress myself and use a manual wheelchair. I spent this time learning new skills and getting my body stronger.