Submitted: 11-25-2011 by Nat Bradford
I’ve known Sean for more than 20 years and know he’s capable of many things, but writing a book was not one of them. In fact given my background in journalism I thought that there maybe something I could do first, but he’s taken that opportunity from me as well… he will, however, turn 40 well before me, so that’s a start
The book itself chronicles Sean’s journey from fit to fat to fit and back to fat again, and the circumstances and reasons that led to those ends. Primarily, Sean found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time repeatedly. He’s the kind of bloke you definitely want to be standing next to in a lightening storm because he’ll absolutely get hit before you will, and not just because he happens to be a bigger target.
Back in Adelaide he was knocked off a Vespa and had a raft of devastating injuries to the point where doctors were concerned if he’d walk again. Not only did he walk again, but he played competitive rugby, a lifelong passion and something he’d dragged me into very willingly.
Because of rugby, he was in Bali for the bombings. This impacted him enormously and he struggled to reconcile for a long time why he had lived whilst others he’d played on the rugby field only hours before did not. On his return, he hit the club scene and all it entailed, ended a bad relationship and lost his job. It was about that time he met his future wife and things really started to change for him: He married, started progressing the career ladder and continued with his rugby as a way of exercise and mental release. Then the night that changed his life hit, literally:
Sean was the “airbag” in a vintage Morgan car that was t-boned in an intersection. So badly was he injured, when his wife, who’d only recently discovered she was pregnant, called to tell me the situation some 12 hours later (I was living in Adelaide at the time), she had just been told by doctors they weren’t sure he’d last another 12 hours. I was on the next flight.
When I arrived, there lay in front of me not the bloke I’d known for many years but an unconscious, broken human being, on a respirator and with drainage tubes seemingly coming from everywhere. It's detailed graphically in the book. But the book is focused on celebrating life, not looking at the causes for why sometimes it is so hard. Sean has recovered to become the Fat Paddler people know today. He's still fat, but he's strangely paddle fit...