In July 2018, Emily Quattrocchi had a car accident in her hometown of Euroa, in country Victoria. The accident left her with a T4 spinal injury and a minor brain injury.
Emily spent seven months in hospital and rehab following her accident.
“In those early days I believed that I wouldn’t be able to achieve the goals and dreams I had wanted before,” says Emily.
“But slowly as I strengthened my body, I understood how my new body worked and learnt what was possible,” she says. “I realised I am capable.”
One activity she had enjoyed prior to her accident was cheerleading. “Cheerleading is something I did for five years prior to my injury and I remember the sadness I felt at the thought of never being able to do it again,” says Emily.
“Then one night in hospital as I was looking at cheerleading videos, I found one of a man cheerleading in a wheelchair and I understood then that it was possible.”
Emily is now an athlete at The Next Step Spinal Cord Recovery (TNS) and has been training since March – just one month after coming out of hospital. She also keeps busy outside of training with wheelchair tennis and basketball – and para-cheerleading.
Emily competed in her first cheerleading competition in June 2019 and was the first para-cheerleader in Australia. She hopes she can encourage more people with disabilities to join her in the sport she loves.
Apart from sport, Emily also produces films and YouTube vlogs (video blogs).
“Filmmaking is another passion of mine,” she says. “I had just finished my studies with a Bachelor of Media and Communication a few weeks before my accident. Although I missed my graduation, I was fortunate enough to attend the year after, when I finally got out of hospital.”
Though nervous about how she would now manage as a filmmaker, Emily persevered and made a short documentary ‘Emily – you never give up’. which has been accepted into multiple film festivals in Australia, America and Italy. She has also started a YouTube vlog called ‘Em Quattrocchi’ and started a video business called ‘Empower Productions’.
“This time last year I was in a hospital bed thinking my life was limited, but 12 months on, I now know that I have no limits because there is always a way,” she says. “It may be a little different or takes longer, but there is a way to achieve any goal or dream I choose.”
“I am happy to share my story to celebrate Women’s Health Week, as it is so important to include women of all abilities in discussions about women's health.”
Photo by Mark Jesser