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Craig's story


3 November 2021

Tucked behind a quiet street in Hendra, shaded in Moreton Bay figs and palm trees, the swimming club where Craig Templeman works is an idyllic place to swim outdoors.

He is clearly passionate about the place.

Craig Templeman: My name's Craig Templeman. I'm manager, or chief cook and bottle washer here. The members are all lovely, the kids are all lovely. I've trained them all up, you see, they can't misbehave anymore. So, my accident happened on Tuesday the 14th of April, 2020. I was doing a lot of gardening and I stupidly, at age 70, decided to get up a ladder, way too high and trim some big branches of the big Moreton Bay fig we've got down near the front. It was a beautiful morning, clear, no wind so I thought, 'oh, I'll give it a shot', and unfortunately when I was at the top, a little gust of wind happened and like that nursery rhyme you know, old fatso came tumbling down [laughs]. Yeah it was pretty bad, I had a pretty much busted back, broken pelvis front and back. Oh, and 11 broken ribs didn't help and I was about a month in intensive care at the Royal, about another month in intensive care at the Wesley. But I gotta tell you, WorkCover, WorkCover were absolutely fantastic. Particularly a lovely girl called Cindy.

Cindy (Customer Adviser): When I first received Craig's claim, I frankly looked at it in absolute horror. I thought, 'how did this man survive?' He's amazing. Craig was in intensive care. I was dealing with the specialists and his treatment providers to start getting the wheels in motion for his recovery to start taking place.

Craig Templeman: Cindy's support and guidance was simply stunning. You see accidents on the news every night, young people or surfing, car accidents or whatever, whatever and you think 'oh god, it's a struggle to learn to walk again,' you know and you think poor thing, you know. When it happens to you, you realise just how hard it is.

Cindy (Customer Adviser): And each and every day on each and every occasion when I was speaking with Craig it was, 'okay let's go,  let's do it' and he's made a great recovery.

He's never looked back. His passion to get back to work was just incredible.

Craig Templeman: I often think about it, I'm very lucky not to be in a wheelchair and I do love it here - got a plug in [laughs].

Cindy (Customer Adviser): I was more than happy to help in any way that I could because that's where he wanted to be. It was just, that was clearly where he wanted to be. His positive outlook on life and his energy, his drive was just amazing.

Craig Templeman: None of us want to stop, you know, life's about working and enjoying but to be able to continue that into the future you've obviously got to take care of yourself and be very, very cautious, you know. If you're not an expert, if you're not a professional, anything dangerous, just leave it alone. That's my advice, that's the easiest thing. It's just not worth the risk. The good news is, thank god that we've got an organisation like WorkCover to help.

[end of transcript]

Craig is manager of the swimming pool – or, “chief cook and bottle washer”, as he fondly refers to his role.

Yet, it was also the site of a serious workplace injury.

In April 2020, Craig was working alone trimming some branches in the pool grounds when he fell off a ladder.

He seriously injured his back and pelvis, broke multiple ribs, and punctured a lung. He spent two months in hospital in intensive care, undergoing surgery and rehabilitation for his injuries.

Meanwhile, Cindy, his WorkCover Queensland case manager, was working hard behind the scenes with specialists and treatment providers to support Craig’s recovery.

Craig required extensive rehabilitation to give him the best chance at returning to the work he loves.

“I was more than happy to help, in any way that I could, because that’s where he wanted to be,” Cindy said.

“His positive outlook on life and his energy, his drive was just amazing. Each and every day, on each and every occasion when I was speaking with Craig, it was, ‘okay let’s go, let’s do it’.

“He’s made a great recovery. He’s never looked back.”

Craig is happy to be back at work doing what he loves. These days, he’s more cautious and knows when to leave certain things to the experts.

“I’m very lucky not to be in a wheelchair,” he said.

“Life’s about working and enjoying but to be able to continue that into the future, you’ve obviously got to take care of yourself and be very, very cautious.

“The good news is, thank God that we’ve got an organisation like WorkCover to help.”