THAT'S LIFE: Gold medal-winning Paralympian Darren Thrupp reflects  on the 1985 crash   that left him with cerebral palsy-like symptoms.
THAT'S LIFE: Gold medal-winning Paralympian Darren Thrupp reflects on the 1985 crash that left him with cerebral palsy-like symptoms. Tom Gillespie

'I hit rock bottom': Thrupp re-lives the day his life changed

FOR 30 years, Wallumbilla's Darren Thrupp had never seen evidence of the crash that changed his life forever.

But Maranoa's most accomplished sportsperson and six-time Paralympic gold medallist has recently found evidence he had previously never seen before of the accident.

Mr Thrupp suffered irreparable brain damage when he was involved in a two-vehicle smash in 1985 between Surat and Roma.

The driver and best friend, Peter Hughes, was killed instantly from the collision after he swerved around a car ahead of them that was pulling into a property, only to hit a 4WD going the other way.

But Mr Thrupp said he had no recollection of the incident, which was what made the search for evidence so important.

"We were coming back from cricket in Surat and a fellow team-mate was turning into his property and we swerved,” he said.

"First recollection I got of anything was when I was in the PA Rehabilitation Unit.

"When I woke up in Brisbane I thought, 'why am I here?'

"I didn't even remember the accident, until someone told me I had been in one and Peter Hughes had died.

"I hit rock bottom then.”

Photo evidence from the crash that changed Darren Thrupp's life forever.
Photo evidence from the crash that changed Darren Thrupp's life forever. Alan Lane

THE SEARCH FOR ANSWERS

After several years not wanting to know, curiosity got the better of Mr Thrupp and he decided to find out what the crash had looked like.

"I wanted to see the car and what sort of damage it had taken, because I was told by people that I was one lucky guy to be alive right now. I agree with that (looking at the photos).”

The search for answers started when he asked former officer Alan Lane if he had any photographs of that fateful day.

"I asked him if he had any photos of the accident, and he said yes,” he said.

"He developed these photos and saved them for me.”

Even after all these years, Mr Thrupp said he can't help but wonder could've been, considering his prowess on the football field and his desire to become a police officer.

"It took away a chance for me to achieve my original dreams,” he said.

"My big aim was to go to school, finish it and join the police force, and then I was going to play football in Brisbane and hopefully get picked up (by a club) in Sydney.”

However, Mr Thrupp said he has always lived his life positively, and said he has no plans to stop doing so.

"In a way, I am (bitter), because it wrecked my life at the time,” he said.

"But then again I achieved some things I never would've achieved without the accident.

"I'm the greatest sportsperson our area's ever had and I met my wife through the Paralympics, so there's that.

"You've always got to live positively, and that's what I say to kids when I teach them.

"I'll keep running til the day I can't run anymore.”


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