PERMOBIL | Josh's Story 

Josh Tomlinson

Prior to his accident in August 2020, Josh ran his own company as a painter and plasterer and was heavily into Motocross bike riding.  He’d had a few accidents along the way, but it wasn’t a Motocross accident that left him a C4/5 Tetraplegic. He simply fell heavily and hit his head on a door. He was at work one day, and in Intensive Care the next. Talk about a shock!

Josh credits his wife’s strength for helping him get to where he is now and their kids.  Avah (8) and Charlie (3) inspired him to get home sooner. But so did the thought of spending quality time with whānau and friends, his Dad, Step Mum and Mum … it’s much better at home than in the hospital environs.

Josh worked through his hospital rehab quickly.  During this time, he and Mika rented a van so their family could get away from the hospital ward for picnics, dinners at home, movies, and shopping. Josh didn’t wait to be discharged before living his new life.  The team of medical specialists were incredible, when Josh left, he was determined not to look back.

Before Josh left Burwood Hospital, he tried a couple of different wheelchairs to find his best match. He decided on a Permobil F5VS and hasn’t looked back. 

“This chair gives me independence. I can stand and manage my own pressure relief.  Standing also helps with my muscle tone and bone density. The seat raises up to a height where I can look people in the eye or order my own beer.  The front wheel drive lets me go pretty much anywhere, out on the golf course with my mates (I’m often the beer carrier), to my kid’s dirt bike parks, on river walks.  I could even travel along the Punakaiki walkway on our family holiday.  When the kids ran out of puff they hopped up on my knee and it’s comfortable and I don’t feel every bump.

The most important thing when I first left hospital though was finding out how much weight the footplate could carry when I’m in a standing position.  It’s over 160kgs, so it could easily manage when I stood on it with Mika on our wedding day to have our first dance as husband and wife.  That was a moment I’ll never forget.”

Josh’s attitude now is “Life’s not over because I’m in a chair, if I want to do something, I just get out there and make it happen.”

He’s always been an outdoorsy type of guy so he was a bit sceptical when his OT suggested he might like to try target shooting.  It didn’t seem very active, maybe even a little boring.  But he thought he’d give it a go and he’s glad he did.  He’s really enjoying the sport and is now looking to buy his own gear and he’s even eyeing up competitions.  Could the next Paralympics be in his future?  “As long as I’m enjoying it. Shooting is a sport I’m really enjoying now, and I feel good about doing. So yes I’m keen to try competitions, but if it got ‘all stress and no fun’, I wouldn’t be so enthusiastic. I don’t want it to lose that fun aspect”. But the next Paralympics are in Paris aren’t they?  “That’d be a good trip say Josh”.

Thanks to Andrea Woodall, Su Marshall (NZST) and Josh Tomlinson for sharing this story.


Comment from - Hayden Wilson | Permobil Territory Sales Manager | Christchurch

Josh and Mika’s positive attitude was evident from the first day I met them at Burwood Hospital.  I knew that there would be no stopping them from achieving great things, and the products we supplied must not limit this.

The Permobil F5VS was the perfect solution to allow Josh to get out and tackle those new challenges. It’s also great knowing the multifunctional seating will continue to support Josh’s physiological health needs, along with the functional and interactive benefits standing offers.

It’s been fantastic watching Josh’s progress over the past 12 months, and I can’t wait to see what’s around the next corner. And Josh, I need an excuse to dust of the golf clubs!