Alexa Leary had an accident and temporarily left the arena. She now represents Australia in swimming competitions

Alexa Leary qualified for her first ever Australian Para Swimming Team on Wednesday night amid cheers from friends and family. The achievement is a major milestone in her life and a display of her extraordinary perseverance and courage. Despite suffering permanent brain damage in a serious accident, Leary will represent Australia at the World Para Swimming Championships in Manchester.

Magical Journey

It’s nothing short of a miracle that Leary made it this far. Reflecting on her victory in the 100-meter freestyle final, she said, “Lex, you did an amazing job. You persevered, and you made it.” Her story is one of triumph over death, over traumatic brain injury, and overcoming the expectation that she would never walk or talk again.

A life-changing accident

Alexa’s life changed dramatically during a bike ride outside Noosa. Alexa, a former junior triathlete who won a silver medal at the 2019 Junior World Championships, was training for a bike ride when the accident happened. Alexa’s father, Russ, recalled that he rode to the scene and did not recognize his daughter at first. She was unconscious and seriously injured, with broken ribs, a fractured skull, a punctured lung and a broken leg.

Key Actions

The quick actions of bystanders and medical staff were crucial to saving Alexa’s life. A local asked a cyclist to call emergency services, a paramedic quickly found the accident scene, and a doctor on the scene repositioned Alexa and helped her breathe. Neurosurgeon Dr. Norman Ma performed the life-saving surgery that evening.

Indomitable spirit

Alexa’s recovery is a testament to her indomitable spirit. Russ describes the harrowing days Alexa spent in the intensive care unit, where Alexa’s life was in danger multiple times. She was on life support for two weeks, underwent multiple surgeries, and faced serious complications. Yet, she overcame every challenge with extraordinary resilience.

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The long road to recovery

The road to recovery was long and arduous. Alexa spent two months relearning basic skills like walking, talking and self-care. Despite the odds, she was determined to return to sport. “When I was in the ICU, I said I wanted to compete in the Paralympics,” she recalls. She was classified as an S9 para-swimmer (indicating weakness, limb loss or difficulty moving an arm or leg), paving the way for her return to the competitive arena.

Family support

During her recovery, Alexa had the unwavering support of her family. Her parents, Russell and Belinda, and sisters, Madison and Ashtyn, were always by her side. Their collective strength and encouragement were crucial in helping Alexa overcome her challenges and pursue her dreams.

Drive to swim

Alexa’s desire to swim again was the driving force behind her recovery. Her bubbly personality and determination resonated with her teammates and other athletes. She frequently engaged with other swimmers, sharing her infectious enthusiasm and zest for life.

Move for Lex

A social media campaign called Move for Lex played a major role in Alexa’s recovery journey. The campaign encouraged Australians to take action in support of Alexa, drawing widespread attention to her story and inspiring countless others. Not only did the initiative highlight Alexa’s extraordinary progress, it also fostered a sense of community and collective motivation.

international stage

Now, having qualified for the World Para Swimming Championships, Alexa Leary is ready to take on the international stage. With her gold swim cap on, she is the epitome of resilience and determination. Her journey from a life-threatening accident to competing at the highest level of Para swimming is an inspiring story of courage and perseverance.

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Inspiring Stories

Alexa Leary’s story is one of hope, determination and triumph over adversity. Her rise from a devastating accident to representing Australia at the World Championships as a Para-swimmer is a powerful testament to the greatness of the human spirit. Alexa Leary continues to inspire others with her resilience and positive attitude, a beacon of hope and a symbol of what can be achieved through determination and unwavering support.

Lasting Impact

As Alexa prepares to compete on the world stage, her story will continue to inspire and encourage others facing similar challenges. Her journey reminds us that with determination, support, and an indomitable spirit, even the most daunting obstacles can be overcome. Alexa Leary’s legacy is one of courage, resilience, and hope that shines brightly for all to see.

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