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John's story


23 August 2023

Making the roads safer is Senior Constable John Kenworthy’s passion – in fact, since joining the Queensland Police Service and becoming a motorcycle traffic officer, he has built a career around it.

Sadly, it was while on duty keeping others safe on the roads that his own life would change. In the decades he’d been riding motorbikes, John had never had a crash, until one Sunday in August 2020.

While stationed at Mackay, John responded to a call for help for a serious injury traffic crash at Calen, where four people including two young children were trapped in a vehicle.

“I'm searching side to side and come up, road's going around to the right, and I just realised straight away that I wasn't going to make it,” John said.

“It was just going straight off the road, down through a hedge, through a barbed wire fence, barbed wire's come up into the helmet, and that's pretty much where my life changed.”

John suffered significant injuries to his eyes, as well as face fractures and lacerations. While he’s regained some sight through multiple surgeries, he is now legally blind in both eyes.

John relocated to Brisbane in mid-2021 and was stationed at Mango Hill North Lakes Police Station.

Officer in Charge, Senior Sergeant Mick Moate, said that when John arrived, it was a matter of working out what John’s needs were, assessing the workplace and providing some adjustments.

He said that John is invaluable to the station in terms of his outlook, police experience, and skillset.

“What he's brought to the station has been so significant. He's incredibly experienced in his line of policing, also traffic policing. He lights up the day room when he comes to work.”

John said it’s been rewarding to return to meaningful police work, as well as making a difference through his road safety advocacy and community work.

For workers who have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident at work, WorkCover collaborates with NIISQ (the National Injury Insurance Scheme Queensland), which funds necessary treatment, care and support for people like John who fit their criteria.

“It's been pretty overwhelming, actually. The amount of support that I've had from WorkCover and from NIISQ has been brilliant… You've absolutely changed my life,” John said.

“The best advice I can give to people is, it's every second in your life is important and just make the most of it. You know, it would've been easy just to sit back and say, well, you know, why bother? But why not?”

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