‘It is devastating’ - Former athlete left paralysed after car crash

February 22, 2019
Keino continues to work on his upper body strength, even though he's paralysed from the waist down.
Keino continues to work on his upper body strength, even though he's paralysed from the waist down.

Keino Hewitt had high hopes of becoming the next sprint sensation in Jamaica when he started the University of Technology three years ago, but a car crash took his chances away.

Hewitt and fellow students Kimberly Leach and Shem Cole were travelling in a motor car along Windward Road, Kingston, last September, which collided with a Jamaica Urban Transit Company bus.

Cole, the grandson of former national footballer Alan 'Skill' Cole and singer Judy Mowatt, had just returned from the US and had been picked up minutes earlier at the Norman Manley International Airport.

Hewitt and Leach were both rushed to the hospital. Hewitt, a former MVP Track Club member, suffered a spinal injury and several broken bones. He is now paralysed from the waist down. He is currently doing physiotherapy.

"It has been really hard over the past few months. I can't walk, and before I could not move around like I am doing now because my arms were also broken. Now I can move around a little and the strength that I have is just in my upper body, there is no movement in my lower limb. The US$4,000 that we asked for last year was used to do spinal surgery but I am paralysed from the waist down," Hewitt told THE WEEKEND STAR.

It is devastating

"Everything has changed and it has affected me bad. Seeing people doing things that I want to do is rough. Gibson(McCook Relays) is coming up and I can't partake in it. It is devastating. Last year when I participated, it was big for me," he said. The MVP team Hewitt was on placed second in the 4x100 metre relay at last year's event.

The Gibson McCook relays take place tomorrow at the National Stadium in Kingston. It is considered the premier relay carnival on the island.

Leach told THE WEEKEND STAR that physically she is healing well and has about two more months on crutches but it has been a rough journey mentally. She said that nevertheless, she is persevering and is looking forward to being on the track again.

Psychologically, Hewitt, 23, said that he is crushed because he had hopes of not only excelling on the track but also being a personal chef.

He said that he is hoping to resume school this September to continue his studies in baking technology and is currently learning how to race in a wheelchair with dreams of participating in the Paralympics.

"My physio introduced me to racing in wheelchairs. She said that I would be really good at it and I tried it and realised that I could do it. It is interesting and fun," he said.

He said that he welcomes help and sponsorship from anyone with medication and getting a wheelchair to practise for the Paralympics.

He said that his family is currently financially drained because of the many therapy and doctor visits that he has to do, but he is trying to put his disappointments behind him.

Hewitt is hoping that persons who are touched by his story can help him bounce back from the blow of being paralysed.

Anyone who is willing to help Hewitt may call his mother, Angella Weir at 876-465-7314.

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