jared mcintyre

A South African man’s determination to live his best life despite becoming a quadriplegic is an inspirational story for all South Africans.


Bloemfontein, South Africa – Jared McIntyre, an inspirational South African became disabled in 2007 after an accident in Kenton on Sea when he dived into the ocean.

Jared, who had been a gymnast for 18 years, broke two vertebrae in the tragic accident, which left him a quadriplegic, meaning his arms and legs were affected.

“In the beginning, I couldn’t even close my hands, so I used to hold a knife and fork with two hands. That was the kind of challenge that I faced shortly after my accident,”

His story, though, was one of hope and encouragement. Jared believes that there are very few things in life that are constant or guaranteed.

“Two that are, however, are that firstly, you will experience trials and tribulations, and secondly, you will experience change in your life.”

“At the end of the day, it all comes down to how you approach that challenge or that setback in your life. You can either let that situation overcome you, or are you going to tackle that thing head on? That was a challenge that I faced when I had my accident.”

Gymnastics, he said, had helped prepare him for the drastic change in his life.

“Each day I was in rehabilitation after my accident, I saw as a challenge. Now I have improved my situation. Although there were tough and challenging times, each day was a day that I set out goals for myself to see how I could improve my situation and achieve the most in the time that I was there.”

He now runs the Mustang Wheelchair Rugby Club in Bloemfontein and has dedicated his life to providing support and positive reinforcement through sports to other paraplegics in the region.

Jared was introduced to  the sport of wheelchair rugby just two months into rehabilitation. Eager to infect other wheelchair-bound people with the drive to own their bodies, McIntyre started the Mustang Wheelchair Rugby Club in Bloemfontein and he hasn’t looked back since.

“Life is a choice. You can either choose to sit back in a corner and feel sorry for yourself or you can decide you want to carry on with life and live it to the full. That is something that I chose after my accident. I told myself there was no way that the situation could control my life. There were so many things I wanted to do still and achieve in my life. Don’t let situations control you and focus on what you want to do,” he said.

“You have to make a decision each morning when you wake up on what it is you want to achieve and what your approach is to life. If you’re going to allow the situation to control you, then it’s going to be challenging. But if you decide that you have the opportunity to design and control your future, together with God, then that’s the start to staying positive.”

Jared decided long ago to control his own future and works closely with Tswellang School for the Disabled in Bloemfontein to help young children in wheelchairs to control their own futures. He uses the school to recruit his team players and hopes to one day take wheelchair rugby to a level where paraplegics will be able to partake in it as a competitive sport.

Sources: GTG Interview | Jack Cheetham and Letsema Awards | SASB
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About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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