Avalanche victim Graham is back snowboarding in the Alps after therapy at Ability Bow gym
PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:36 30 July 2018
A man who survived an avalanche and still recovering from brain injury six years later has been back to the Alps to return to snowboarding after long treatment at Ability Bow therapy gym.
Graham Naylor has been testing a prototype snowboard in Austria with inventor Yusuf Muhammad, determined not to be put off by the avalanche in 2012 that paralysed his legs and caused brain injury.
Yusuf designed a prototype snowboard at his Machine Room studio in Bethnal Green tailored to his special needs.
He visited the hospital neurology department where Graham has been treated to work out a design to meet the needs of his rare Action Myoclonus condition.
The two were testing the design in real snow conditions in the Austrian Alps before the weather warmed up and found Graham was able to stand upright on the board.
“I’m staggered that I have the chance to return to the mountains and snow again,” Graham said. “That’s something I thought may never happen.
“I am now using different muscle groups that I haven’t used since the avalanche, thanks to the therapy I’ve been having.”
The 46-year-old from Spitalfields was buried deep under tonnes of snow—it was only a mountain rescue dog that found him.
Graham was airlifted to a hospital in Grenoble and hooked up to a life support for three weeks before returning to Britain for three more months of intensive treatment at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, followed by long-term rehabilitation with Mile End community health team.
He has been having sessions at Ability Bow www.abilitybow.org since 2014 to aid his recovery from a hypoxic brain injury, which affected his speech and mobility. The gym has been teaching him to walk again following the avalanche he couldn’t outrun.