The story which was run in the Sun reads: –
A FIREMAN told he’d never walk again following a horrific motorbike crash has overcome his injuries to compete in some of the UK’s most gruelling physical challenges, including The Slateman Triathlon and an IRONMAN.
Dad-of-two Steve Summers, 53, died twice while doctors battled to save his life after the smash when he was 25.
In the years that followed, Steve’s weight ballooned to 21.5st – but he’s since turned his life around, losing an incredible nine stone and qualifying as a fitness instructor.
Steve, from Heanor in Derbyshire, told how working again in such an unlikely job after being a stay-at-home dad for 20 years has given him a new lease of life.
“As far as I’m aware I’m the only disabled fitness instructor,” he said. “Though I like to call myself highly capable.
“I never felt like giving up. I’ve still got massive problems – a fused ankle, a knee held together with carbon fibre, my left leg is just under two inches shorter than my right leg, so that’s curved my spine, I’ve got sclerosis – but you just get by and adapt, really.”
Steve was violently knocked off his bike when he was on the way to a call-out as part of his work as a retained fireman.
He recalled: “A driver didn’t see that I was pretty much alongside him and he just did a U-turn right in front of me.
“I went straight into the side of him and was flung like a rag doll, by all accounts.
“I was left with really serious injuries. I’d got a compound tibia and fibula, all on my left leg, a broken ankle, I’d tore all the ligaments in my knee and got a double segmented fracture, I broke my shoulder, I fractured my skull, my nose and various other bits and bobs.
“Apparently I had to be resuscitated twice – I was in theatre for 14-and-a-half hours while they were trying to save my leg – and my life.”
To make matters worse, Steve then contracted an infection while in hospital which dissolved all the bone growth in the top of his thigh.
“They said it was unlikely I’d ever walk again without crutches, and that was if I kept my leg,” he explained.
“It was 18 months until they finally managed to get the infection under control.
“For everything else I had years and years of therapy and surgery. They rebuilt my knee with carbon – even now it’s held together with carbon fibre, I’ve got no ligaments other than that in it.
“They said I could never kneel, squat, crawl, run, or do any kind of manual work for the rest of my life.
“I got retired from the fire brigade in 1991 – a year-and-a-half after the accident.”
Steve, who was engaged at the time of the accident but is now divorced, then decided he’d be the one to stay at home and look after his two children Gareth (now 26) and Kirsty (now 24)
But being so inactive meant Steve found himself getting more and more unfit, and gradually the weight started to creep on.
Eight years ago, his doctor referred him to the local gym, where he was encouraged to take part in the Be Active scheme.
But exercising was agony for Steve.
He recalled: “I was 21-and-a-half stone and I used to have to wear this big metal pipe around my leg.
“I was 46-years-old and I just thought I was gonna die walking on a treadmill at 4.5km per hour for five minutes.
“I almost fell off there, but I stuck with it and got a little bit fitter.”
After 18 months Steve had lost just under five stone.
Impressed by his attitude, Steve’s trainer suggested he’d make a brilliant fitness instructor.
“I said I’d not worked for 20 years since I got retired, and they said they wanted to give me the job,” said Steve.
“So I went to college and did a fitness instructor qualification and they gave me a job as a casual in 2009, which became pretty much full-time.”
Steve then decided to set himself a series of tough physical challenges to raise money for charity – one of which is SmileTrain, which helps children with cleft lips and palates get life changing surgery.
Over the last year he’s done The Slateman Triathlon – a 1000m swim, 51km bike ride and 11km run all rolled into one, (which he completed in four hours and 34 minutes), the IRONMAN UK in Bolton – a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and marathon – the 13.1 mile Great North Run and a non-stop 13 hour spin session at his local gym.
He explained: “As the saying goes, nothing worthwhile is ever easy, is it?
“I thought I’d get more people supporting me if I was doing stuff like this, rather than just running 10km or something.
“It’s agony to run – I’m not too bad at biking, I’m a rubbish swimmer but I get by with that, but running is agony, I hate it.
“Because of all my limitations it’s really, really painful, but it’s obviously necessary for things like the IRONMAN, because if you don’t finish in 17 hours you don’t finish. It took me pretty much 15 hours to do it non-stop.
“But I won’t let my limitations stop me from achieving my goals and living life to the full.”
Steve has also won Heanor’s Achievement Against All Odds award.
Welcome to the team Steve, complete pleasure to have to on board.