Matt Tickle, 21, competing in karate  at the end of July.
Matt Tickle, 21, competing in karate at the end of July. Jacklyn Wagner

Matthew makes a comeback

WHEN Matthew Tickle broke his neck in three places playing rugby union he never imagined he would come back bigger and better than ever.

Now the 21-year-old, who spent six weeks in a halo brace and an equal amount of time on the couch, is the Australian heavyweight karate champion.

But the road to number one was not easy.

“I was playing under 19s for Lismore City Rugby Union and I had an awkward tackle and landed on my head and broke my neck in three places,” he said.

“I spent six weeks on the lounge playing Playstation and it drove me nuts.

“I began training after six months and did lower-level tournaments to get my confidence up.

“It was hard at first.

“If I had someone coming at me I would flinch and pull back.

“There were guys I knew were at my level that I had trouble beating.”

At the time of his accident, Matthew divided his recreational time between football and karate.

But after his injury he was told he couldn't play football any more so he happily changed his full-time focus to karate and training at Miyagi Kan Karate in South Lismore.

“I wasn't sure I could get back to where I was,” Matthew said.

“The recovery was hard but since then it's been good and good to get where I am now.

“A lot of people are surprised that I can still walk after I broke my neck let alone win national titles.”



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