In The Media | 11 July 2016

Paul Pritchard, left disabled after climbing Tasmania’s Totem Pole, on the daily struggle for acceptance

Ever since a rock landed on his head while he was climbing Tasmania’s notorious Totem Pole, leaving him with a massive brain injury, Hobart resident Paul Pritchard has had to deal with discrimination, often from the most surprising of places.

“People shout ‘spaz’ in the street,” he says.

“I’ve turned around to find teenagers mimicking my walk, and I’ve had physical beatings on two occasions by people who, I can only suppose, felt threatened by me.”

Despite these encounters, Mr Pritchard describes his accident as “the best thing that ever happened to me”.

“Paul doesn’t do regret,” his partner Melinda Oogjes says.

“Or very rarely. I think Paul thinks of his accident and disability as a very long, very rewarding, very enriching expedition.”