Meet Josh Hose, a two-time Paralympic gold medalist representing the highly successful Australian Steelers Wheelchair rugby team, who completed at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
In 2005, Josh was in a car accident in 2005 that left him paralysed from the waist down. He took up wheelchair rugby as part of his own rehabilitation and became interested in the sport. In his teens, he had played football, cricket and basketball and it was while watching the 2008 Beijing Paralympics at Austin Health that Mr Hose realised sport might still play a part in his life. He wasn’t expecting to be competing for his third gold medal at the age of 34, though.
Wheelchair rugby used to be called Murderball – an indication that it’s no gentle pastime for the faint-hearted. The fast-paced, full-contact sport combines elements of rugby, basketball and handball and is played in about 40 countries. Australia tops the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation world rankings and the Steelers are hoping for a gold hat-trick in Tokyo having won at London in 2012 and Rio in 2016.
“I just love it. I retired after Rio … then I offered to help with training and preparation for Tokyo, and I guess the competitive juices got going again,” Mr Hose says.
In 2014, Mr Hose studied Certificate IV in Disability CHC40312 (superseded by Certificate IV in Disability CHC43115) at VU Polytechnic and says that he really enjoyed being in a school environment again. He lives in Footscray and still uses the VU gym. “I push to the gym for my warm-up,” he says.
He works at Austin Health in a peer support wheelchair skills program helping those in rehab adjust to the changes in their lives and trains at VU’s Aquatic and Fitness Centre.