SPORTS, FITNESS & DANCE

Passion for sports

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Nisha Gupta

The accident

I am Nisha Gupta born in Varanasi on 22nd March. I had completed my HSC from Mumbai University in 2004. After my board exams I visited my native place Varanasi with my parents for a holiday. I was a very adventurous and naughty girl who could never sit in one place. On the 1st of May 2004 while trying to pluck mangoes from a tree I had an accidental fall. I sustained a head and spinal cord injury. Nobody was aware of spinal cord injury in my family and we did not know how to deal with this accident. I was left with no movement and sensation in my lower limbs. My family and friends began to panic and rushed me to the nearest hospital which was more than 2 hours away. Due to my head injury I was bleeding profusely and needed 4-5 stitches. On arrival at the hospital I was then told that not walking was the least of my problems.

A spinal cord injury meant that I now no longer had control of my bowel and bladder. This was unimaginable and everyone was dumbfounded at how we will be able to cope with this complication. The doctor suggested that I should I undergo a spinal surgery to try and stabilize my spine and spinal cord. My parents who have immigrated to Mumbai from a village in Varanasi were overwhelmed with this and were not able to arrive at a decision. On the recommendation of friends and other doctors we were told to come to Mumbai for treatment.

The 24hour long journey to Mumbai took its toll on my health as I was only on glucose. I was admitted in Laud hospital at Dadar, on the next day Dr. Sameer Dalve (Neurologist) started my treatment for the spine post which I was under observation phase for 48hrs. On 06th may 2004 my operation was done successfully with the blessings and prayers of everyone

Basketball

At this point only my dad knew the severity of my condition, I was still living with the hope that my condition will improve and I will recover. I was discharged from the hospital on 18th May and began my rehabilitation at ALL INDIA INSITIUTE REHABILITATION CENTRE (HAJI ALI). Here with the help of physiotherapy was taught how to sit and stand with calipers.  Almost 3 months passed but there was no improvement then I asked Dr. Anil Gaur about my injury Doctor said that I will never walk again. It was hard to believe that I will be on the wheelchair my entire life. I was completely shattered, traumatized and went into deep depression. I had lost the will to live and had given up. Once I returned home I seldom left the bed and spent all my time sleeping and watching TV. This went on for 4 years.

Dr. Anil Gaur referred me to Nina Foundation; the objective of the Foundation is to spread hope and optimism amongst the spinal cord injured. They encourage its members to live an independent life. In few months they organized spinal cord injury awareness program at Welingkar College. As I entered the hall, I was surprised to see many paraplegics and quadriplegics on wheelchair. For the 1st time I felt I am not alone. Here I met Dr. Ketna Mehta the founder of Nina foundation and Sunita Sancheti a very enthusiastic member and volunteer. Both of them were paraplegics. Ketna didi inspired me a lot. I came back home and shared my experience with my parents. Then I realized this is my new life & I have to accept it & take it as challenge. Slowly but surely I began to work from home. I started with a data entry job nut my dream was to be a Tattoo artist. I share my feelings with my childhood friend Kavita who introduced me to her friend who was a tattoo artist and came over to my house daily for 3 months to teach me. I was good in drawing and learned very fast. This completely changed my life and I began to follow my passion.

I was now more confident and began participating in a number of activities like Mumbai marathon, wheelchair dancing, swimming, badminton. I even participated in the Miss Wheelchair India 2013 contest. I started going out more often with my friends and cousins. We visit malls and gardens as most of Mumbai is not wheelchair friendly. In September 2014, I attended swimming competition in Dharavi and got inspired by it. Despite my family discouraging me to do so I learned how to swim and participated at the State and National Para swimming competition where I have won many Gold and silver medals in 2014 and 2015. I learned how to swim thanks to the support from my friends Mr.OLIVER DSOUZA and the Nina Foundation supported me to travel for competitions.

In December 2015 I participated in the National wheelchair Basketball championship held in Delhi and won many accolades along with a bronze medal. My passion for sports and life has never been so high; today I am proud to say that I am an independent Indian Paraplegic Girl who believes she can achieve anything she can imagine.

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