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Graduating in the face of adversity

Alex Noble had his entire life flipped upside down when a catastrophic injury during rugby training in October of 2018 stopped his aspirations of becoming a professional rugby player. During a tackle gone wrong, Alex broke his neck and was left with spinal damage that meant he lost function in many of the everyday movements we take for granted.

These injuries put Alex in the ICU, costing him most of his year 11. Putting him behind his peers at school. Despite these challenges, Alex was determined to catch up on all his work and graduated with a respectable ATAR alongside his Riverview College class in 2020.

This hard work landed Alex acceptance into the University of Technology, where he is currently studying Business and Law. Alex has been dedicated to school and his recovery and has begun to regain some everyday movements.

I was able to talk to Alex and discover how this phenomenal young man overcame so much in the face of adversity.


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A post shared by ALEX NOBLE (@ifightyoufight)

Q: If you look back at that time 2 and a bit years ago, just after the accident. Can you remember how you felt and what you thought you thought your future might look like?

A: When I had the accident I was very confused and I no idea what had happened. I didn’t realise the extent of the injury. It was all a blur, to be honest. Then when I was in ICU, I knew I had a long journey ahead of me, and that was going to be tough. Getting to North Shore hospital in Sydney was a relief after ICU as I had all my mates and family around me. With their support, I knew I needed to man up and take this on and see what life has for me.

Q: Since the injury, what was the most difficult part of your recovery experience been?

A: Rehabilitation wise training every day and not seeing any improvements was the most difficult. Pumping the same weight day after day and not seeing any progress was really annoying. Finally, now after a couple of years, I’m seeing improvements. Another difficult part was all the morning and night care. It just takes so long getting in and out of bed.


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A post shared by ALEX NOBLE (@ifightyoufight)

Q: You’ve got quite the social media profile and presence; how much has that helped with your recovery?

A: People recognising me and showing their support has been a big part of helping me with my recovery. Obviously, some of the big names aren’t there as constantly, but just recognising how tough the journey will be for me. Just backing me or giving me a shoutout really has helped.

Q: Congratulations on finishing the HSC. I know many young adults find that experience challenging, but I’m not sure any would have faced the same obstacles you did; how challenging was finishing school with your cohort?

A: During rehab at Ryde, we kept on talking about and questioning whether or not I would be able to finish with my cohort. We thought at first maybe we could do it over two years. I put my foot down and said there is no way I’m not finishing with my cohort. I’m finishing this year. Then I just directed all my hard work and drive from footy towards my studies. I missed all of year 11 as a result of my accident, so I caught up on that and then ended up with a pretty good ATAR.


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A post shared by ALEX NOBLE (@ifightyoufight)

Q: Have there been any unexpected upsides or positives that have come out of your accident?

A: Heaps. True mates. Better connections with my family. Different experiences and different people that I wouldn’t have otherwise met.  On the mental side of things, I’ve developed a number of values that I didn’t have the same respect for before. Gratitude and resilience are two that come to mind that has developed.

Q: I know you’re studying now, but where do you see yourself two years from now?

A: I’m studying business law at the moment. I’m not sure I want to be a lawyer. We will see how much I like that. Maybe something in the business sector, just playing it by ear at the moment. As well as that, I’m looking forward to doing more motivational speaking in the future. I feel like I have heaps of different pathways I can go down. We will just wait and see where I end up.

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