News

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



'Hunted like game': nude beach creeps prompt calls for safety

Residents have made calls for beachgoers to report sexual harassment to local police.

Calls for beachgoers to report sexual harassment to the local police

VIDEO: Lennox Head Ski Jump plans axed

Protesters find out the State Government has decided against a Ski Jump at Lennox Head.

Decision delivered to residents at protest on Saturday.

Stan our man for Archibald Prize

Stan Gilchrist in front of the portrait  East Ballina artist Brett Belot will enter in the Archibald Prize later this year.

Local face to be entered in prestigious national art prize

Local Partners

Miranda Kerr and fiance hang up backyard tent for wedding

MIRANDA Kerr and her husband-to-be, Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel, are set to marry today in decidedly downgrade style with a backyard wedding.

Book review: Mia Freedman's book meets her critics head on

I appreciated Freedman's blunt honesty in the book

Comedy production hits Rochdale stage

Thoroughly relishing their roles as the three crotchety old veterans (performed by Co Gray Wilson, Jason Smith and John Taylor), they provide fascinating individual insights into three proud men who despite their frailties are determined be adventurous and joyful to the end.

Heroes is a comedy play by Gerald Sibleyras.

Stan our man for Archibald Prize

Stan Gilchrist in front of the portrait  East Ballina artist Brett Belot will enter in the Archibald Prize later this year.

Local face to be entered in prestigious national art prize

Mandy and Ellen will be just women like us in Nimbin

DUO: Mandy Nolan and Ellen Briggs bring their hit show Women Like Us to Nimbin.

Hit comedy show heading towards Nimbin

Chicago comes to Bangalow

CELL BLOCK TANGO: Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones in a scene from the 2002 film Chicago.

The next production by Bangalow Theatre Company

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Here's your chance to carp about feral pests

Carp might by great fun to catch but they're destroying Australia's watercourses.

Science in the Pub looks at carp and coral trees

SNEAK PEEK: What new shopping centre is going to look like

Artist impression of the proposed redevelopment of the cinema and shopping complex on Jonson St, Byron Bay.

Mercato billed as regional NSW's most sustainable shopping complex

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

Slaves in Byron: The dark side of housing crisis

Housing generic.

A darker side to Byron's economy

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!