Swimmer is an inspiration

We should all think about what it’s like being on the other side, before taking away the pride of accomplishments of someone so deserving.

Regarding the young brain-injured man and his mother who were at the W.C. Blair Recreation Centre pool in Langley early Sunday morning, Oct. 20.

I’m embarrassed to have witnessed this woman and her 33-year-old son, who suffers from a brain injury, being tormented by four women at the pool.

I overheard these women complaining to the lifeguard, saying this man shouldn’t be allowed to come there to swim.

I did hear an outburst from him earlier – non-words and more like an outburst of anger and frustration – and I agreed with the ladies that he was a bit intimidating-looking as he’s a strong young man. But I’m sure his mom wouldn’t have brought him to the pool if he was unsafe.

The women then proceeded to the other end of the pool to speak to the man’s mother about her son. I could see the mother looked upset, so I told her I hope she didn’t mind, but I was being an advocate for her son.

I asked her if her son had a brain injury. His mother said yes. He was hit by a car almost three years ago. She was thrilled that someone could actually see her son as a man that once had a “normal” life.

I told her I was impressed with his passion in his swimming. She told me how her son often pulls out his phone to show photos of himself during his recovery and how far he’s come in getting better since the accident.

I felt terrible for this woman, who not only has to see her son suffer from his losses on a daily basis, knowing he will never have his past life back, but then they both had to be abused by women at a public pool.

I mentioned to the mother I understood why the women were a bit intimidated by her son, as I heard his outburst. She then told me that what upset her son was the women telling him he didn’t belong at the pool. I was shocked that these women would say such a thing to someone who was obviously suffering from a brain injury.

I’d like to let the man know that he’s an inspiration to us all and that I hope his terrible experience doesn’t stop him from going back to the pool.

To the ladies: How would you feel it this tragedy happened to your son/grandson?

We should all think about what it’s like being on the other side, before taking away the pride of accomplishments of someone so deserving.


Jodi Hartley, Cloverdale

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