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Don’t let a major injury change your life

When 17 year old Blair Bongers lost some of his fingers in a workplace accident, he was determined that it wouldn't stop him from achieving his goals, or having a positive attitude to life.

In December 2012, Blair was using a hydraulic rammer at his family farm in Jambin, in Central Queensland, when his right hand was caught. He was immediately transferred to the Royal Brisbane Hospital for attempted reconstruction of his fingers.

Blair had surgery on his index finger, as both the little and index finger were pinned. His ring finger was amputated straight away and the middle finger was replanted, but amputated five days later.

Achievements in recovery

Blair returned to school on 29 January, and when he returned the school supplied a scribe for him. Blair then trained his left hand to become left hand dominant, and using an iPad he took photos of the blackboard, allowing him to take notes at home.

Incredibly, he participated in all his normal sporting events, and within six weeks of his surgery he was awarded the school's true spirit of sports trophy, for his attitude and participation.

Since the reconstructive surgery, Blair has undergone considerable hand therapy and has achieved significant gains in the use of his index finger, but his little finger has shown only minimal improvement.

While Blair, pictured, can use his right hand for a number of activities, he favours the left hand for any heavy or sustained activity.

There were discussions about possible surgery to replace his missing fingers with some of his toes. But Blair decided he could function as is, and just wanted to get on with his life, and opted out of further surgery.

What does the future have in store for Blair?

Blair is being considered for an apprenticeship as a fitter and tuner. With a very stable thumb and index finger Blair has some degree of function in his right hand. He is using his left hand for power activities and is a very positive and capable young man.

Blair has also done unpaid work experience with a mining company to prove he can do this work one handed.

He also has a back-up plan, being accepted to study Mechanical Engineering at university.

Blair is a very positive and motivated young man keen to get on with his training and vocational advancement in future and what he can manage to do with is hand. Considering his motto in life is now 'Ten fingers is over-rated' we're sure that Blair's positive attitude will ensure his success.

Congratulations to Blair on his recovery and successful return to work and school. We thank him for sharing his story, and we wish him the best in his future endeavours.

For information on injury management, please call us on 1300 362 128. For information on safety and injury prevention, please contact Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.