Lifestyle

Injury laid him low for years, now Sgt Mat's back at work

DON’T GIVE UP: Richmond Local Area Command education development officer Sgt Mat Johnson has been awarded a SafeWork Award from NSW WorkCover.
DON’T GIVE UP: Richmond Local Area Command education development officer Sgt Mat Johnson has been awarded a SafeWork Award from NSW WorkCover. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

AFTER spending almost a decade recovering from a severe back injury, Northern Rivers police Sergeant Mat Johnson has been awarded for his resilience and determination.

Despite several setbacks and the stigma of remaining on duty as an injured officer, Sgt Johnson stuck it out and recently returned to general duties.

WorkCover awarded Sgt Johnson a NSW SafeWork Award during a ceremony at Sydney Olympic Park on Wednesday night.

The humble officer spoke to The Northern Star in the hope his story could motivate others to return to work following injury.

Sgt Johnson said he originally injured his back as a weapons trainer at the Goulburn police academy 12 years into his career, which led to his difficult journey.

"There was a series of reoccurring injuries that went on from that," he said

"Then there was a violent arrest out at Nimbin.

"A violent offender came to the station after committing some pretty heinous offences and was under the influence of certain substances.

"(He was) difficult to control and resulted in me hurting my lower back again."

Sgt Johnson said he struggled with "the issue of identity" throughout his recovery.

"I had to get my head around that, as well as handle the pain and whether I could look after my family financially," he said.

"Once I accepted the injury, then it was a matter of let's get on with it, let's fix it and make it better."

Sgt Johnson said his ongoing recovery would not have been possible without the support of his family, friends, surgeons and colleagues.

He is now the Richmond Local Area Command education development officer and works operational shifts in the field as a general duties supervising sergeant.

"I used to dream about coming back and being operational again," he said.

"I never thought it would happen, but with the operation I had, and all the support and rehabilitation, I'm back.".

Sgt Johnson wanted to thank everyone who contributed to his recovery.

Topics:  workcover workplace health and safety



GALLERY: Surfers evacuated after 2.5m bull shark spotted

SHARK INFESTED WATERS: DPI keeping track of sharks in our rivers and beaches, including a 2.5m metre bull shark reported at Ballina on Sunday. PHOTO: @nswsharkshark

Dept of Primary Industries has alerted Ballina beach authorities

Found: do you own these roads?

Rappville Pub.

A red tape error from more than 100 years ago has created mystery

VIDEO: Eco event about so much more than surfing

Abysse swimwear co-director Hanalei Reponty models local brand mermaid flippers by Mahina Mer-Fins. Photo by Alina Rylko.

Crowds drop-in by the thousands to colourful surf festival at Byron.

Local Partners

Cars toot during Lismore street protest

Motorists gave their morale suuport to a street protest about refugees on Saturday


Northern Rivers gig guide

PIRATE FLAG: The Hussy Hick's latest single is a crowd favourite that echoes a sentiment of political scepticism. Hear Pirate Flag at Tintenbar Upfront, Tintenbar Hall, tomorrow 7.30pm. $20.

What's on this week in local entertainment

Top 10 things to do this weekend

Reece Smith, Ernie Angelosanto and Shayne Smith will compete for the top of the leaderboard at this weekend's Jodie's Inspiration Golf Day.

Are you looking to get out and about over the next two days?

Teeing off to support Jodie's Inspiration

Reece Smith, Ernie Angelosanto and Shayne Smith will compete for the top of the leaderboard at this weekend's Jodie's Inspiration Golf Day.

Vie for the top of the leaderboard, if you dare

Un-American tale makes Lion weakest link in Oscars line-up

PSYCHOLOGY researchers find US films and actors most likely to win accolades at the Oscars.

Can rightful winner Midnight take out golden Gosling in Oscars?

Can Lion pip La La Land at the post in this year's Oscars? Sunny Pawar (pictured) helped bring a powerful film to the big screen.

WILL Aussie film Lion triumph or will popular La La Land prevail?

Living End, Grinspoon stars hit stage for American Idiot

Chris Cheney of The Living End stars in the Australian production of Green Days musical American Idiot at Brisbane's QPAC Theatre.

TAKE a look behind the scenes of Green Day's American Idiot musical

Northern Rivers gig guide

PIRATE FLAG: The Hussy Hick's latest single is a crowd favourite that echoes a sentiment of political scepticism. Hear Pirate Flag at Tintenbar Upfront, Tintenbar Hall, tomorrow 7.30pm. $20.

What's on this week in local entertainment

Samuel L Jackson dismisses La La Land ahead of Oscars

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in a scene from the movie La La Land.

Hollywood actor and Oscars voter says Denzel should win top gong

The trick homeowners are using to buy more properties

Chantelle Subritzky leaves her home each week for Airbnb guests.

Queenslanders are going down this path to help pay their mortgages

Stunning home blends South Pacific beauty with Orient style

Immaculate residence with two outdoor living areas

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!