Episode 127

Nathan Ford - You have to move forward

Nathan Ford is defying the odds. The South Walian was told he would never walk again, following a cycling accident during the British Middle Distance Triathlon Championships in 2021. He doesn't remember the accident, which resulted in a spinal cord injury and a brain injury. Nathan talks to us 8months on, about his living nightmare of 208 nights in hospital during Covid, the rehabilitation programme he is on and his future goals. This is a very special conversation.

Please be aware this episode mentions suicide and you might find some of the conversation disturbing.

You'll hear:

09:30 Nathan talks about Hobb's Rehabiliation Centre in Bristol, where he undergoes 3-4 hours of physio each day, and occupational therapy too. Nathan talks about the minuscule improvements he is making and how he struggles to see progress.

13:00 Nathan talks about the negative days 'it is really tough on some days and there would be an easy way out of it all, and days like that I have to think of family and friends and the support I have had from people.' Nathan talks about the support he has had from people like David Smith MBE who tell him that there is light at the end of tunnel.

16:00 The Go Fund Me page that has raised over £108,000 which helps Nathan to cover some of the costs of his rehabilitation. The physio centre costs £100/hour.

18:45 The strength that Nathan's wife Catrin has shown since his accident. She has been incredible, and how she manages to juggle their coaching, business, working and looking after their dog Archie.

20:20 Nathan talks about his coaching business and how his athletes have supported them. "I missed it so much when I was in hospital."

23:20 How Nathan finds the positives in the fact he is alive and the fact that he has such a supportive community around him. In this situation, you have to remain positive, it is the only way to move forward.

28:00 Nathan explains how challenging every day tasks are, like bending down to pick something up off the floor. 'I'm never happy, I'm never satisfied. There is always something better that I could do. Even brushing my teeth is really difficult. Taking a t-shirt off in the morning takes about 10-15 minutes. I'm not able to tie my shoes. Going through a morning routine can take up to 2 hours.

34:00 Where does Nathan see himself? "I would love to be in a position that I can do sport again. If I am able to walk independently around the house and do day to day tasks that's what I have in my head.

35:20 You might find this part disturbing: Nathan describes the 208 days in 3 different hospitals as 'a living nightmare.' I hated every second of it. Covid made everything that much harder. You are in your own room for 23 hours a day, staring at the ceiling, staring at the walls."

38:20 Nathan explains why he chose to have a halo for 14 weeks, rather than an operation to fuse his neck. He explains he was aware of because of Tim Don and "The Halo" documentary. Nathan then spent months in a brace, so he was restricted for 5.5 months in total.

46:10 Nathan talks about his biggest fear is not getting to where he wants to be. I know where I want to be and where I want to get and if I don't get there, what's going to happen. But I just have to think I will get there and then I can look forward.

47:30 Before I had this accident, I thought I lived every day as my last, but I didn't really do that. Now, looking back at what I have been through and I would say to anyone now, live every day as if it's your last. If you want to do something, do it.

Find out more about this week's guests

Nathan Ford Instagram

Nathan's Go Fund Me page

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About the Podcast

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Inside Tri Show
Helen Murray brings you awesome interviews from triathlon and beyond

About your host

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Helen Murray

Helen has been working in triathlon for a decade as an athlete, coach and broadcaster.

Helen hosts the Inside Tri Show podcast bringing you awesome interviews from triathlon and beyond