MAN WITH A MESSAGE: A near-fatal fall forced  Martin Broad to find new meaning in his life.
MAN WITH A MESSAGE: A near-fatal fall forced Martin Broad to find new meaning in his life. Aden Stokes

Finding new meaning

EIGHT years ago Martin Broad was a fit and healthy man with a long career ahead of him after being offered a job as an assistant laboratory technician, but a life-changing accident forced him to find new meaning in his life.

After a night out celebrating his new job offer in Townsville, the Sapphire Gemfields man returned to his apartment and realised he'd forgotten to take his key.

"I knew I'd left my balcony door open,” Mr Broad said.

"My room was on the seventh floor and I had parked on the sixth floor, so I went to jump up from the railing of the car park on to the balcony.

"Being fit and strong I thought I would be able to do it. I jumped up and made it, but then I slipped and fell seven storeys.

"It crushed me.”

Mr Broad's fall left him with an acquired brain injury. He spent the next two and half years in hospital recovering and learning how to walk, talk and do everything else again.

Despite his speech and walk being affected, and his difficulty finding employment, his outlook is a positive one.

"Apart from the way I walk and talk, I don't feel like I have a disability,” he said. "My theory is you always look upwards and forwards, never behind you.

"When I had the accident I never got down about it. I always thought positively about myself and knew I was going to get through it.”

The National Disability Insurance Scheme was rolled out in Rockhampton in November last year, and Mr Broad now has supports which have allowed him to become more active in his community.

He receives funding towards short term accommodation at local provider Yumba Bimbi, and has joined the local men's club program.

However, it's his regular presentations empowering school children that has left Martin most fulfilled, and with schoolies just around the corner his message is important.

"At the end of the year I give talks to school children before they go to schoolies, I tell them don't make my mistake and do something silly when you're drunk,” he said. "I would hate to see what happened to me happen to anyone else.

"I think one of the most important things is to look after each other. If you look out for your friends you'll be all right.

"I've had kids from previous years pull me up in the street and they say 'you've really changed the way I look at things, you made a big difference to me, thank you for that'.”

For someone who was never comfortable with the idea of a nine to five desk job, Mr Broad said the prospect of doing more presentations excites him.

"I want to get my talks going full-time, because I can't do physical work.

"I'm good at relaying my experience and I think I've had a good response because I still have a good sense of humour.

"I find it rewarding to share my story with the kids. I am happy that I am standing in the way of young people making my same mistake. I am happy to be doing that.”

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