Swimming is Jason’s ‘lifeline to moving about’ after accident left him temporarily paralysed

Love Swimming

Jason Hewitt was just a teenager when he fell from a metal pole and was paralysed from the waist down.

Although the feeling in his legs eventually returned, the accident continued to torment Jason.

He began experiencing excruciating back pain and was diagnosed with a prolapsed disc, which resulted in nerve damage down his right leg.

As Jason prepared for surgery, he was advised to take up swimming as a way of building strength and aiding the recovery process.

The operation left Jason struggling to walk, but the pool provided a platform to reclaim full use of his legs and improve his fitness.

Now, the Dereham resident is one of the stars of the latest Swim England-led #LoveSwimming campaign, Moving Medicine, which urges the medical profession to be more proactive in prescribing swimming as part of a programme of activity to manage medical conditions and aid recovery.

“I’m thrilled to be part of the #LoveSwimming campaign,” he said. “Swimming has had such a positive impact on my physical health. I have never felt fitter than I do now.”

What a difference it makes

Jason now swims three times a week, clocking up to seven miles in the pool during those sessions.

In 2014, he discovered the Aspire Channel Swim, which involved swimming the equivalent length of the channel to raise money for those who have suffered spinal chord injuries – a challenge he has completed in each of the last four years.

More significantly, Jason believes swimming is the reason he has been able to allay a third back operation and stop taking painkillers to manage the pain he previously suffered.

“Swimming is my lifeline to moving about and getting on with my daily routine,” he added.

“If I haven’t swum in a while, I can really feel it in my back and legs, which goes to show what a difference it makes.”

The #LoveSwimming campaign is delivered by Swim England in partnership with 1 Life, Active Nation, Active Lifestyle Centres managed by Circadian Trust, Everyone Active, Freedom Leisure, GLL, Gateshead Council, Leicester City Council, Nottingham City Council, Nuffield Health, Places for People and Serco.

Moving Medicine is the latest wave of the campaign and has featured other swimmers highlighting the benefits of swimming on their physical health, including Steve Wright, who began swimming as a form of rehabilitation after suffering a stroke, Paul Kirby, who suffered intense back pain after years of working a desk job and Wanda Stockdale, who says visits to the pool have helped her manage her osteoarthritis.