A mother of three who broke her back after falling twenty feet from a balcony during a family holiday in Thailand has since become a two-time world and Australian surfing champion.
Sam Bloom was 41 when he fell over a rotten balcony railing during a family vacation in Thailand in 2013.
Ms Bloom plunged twenty feet into the concrete below as her husband Cameron and sons Rueben, 16, Noah, 14, Oli, 12, watched in horror.
Her husband rushed to help, but found her unconscious with her head split open. She had also bitten her tongue and a huge bulge could be seen on her back.
Sam Bloom (pictured) was 41 when he fell off a rotten balcony during a family vacation in Thailand in 2013.
The mother of three (pictured) fractured her skull in several places, bruised her brain, bit her tongue, ruptured both lungs and shattered two vertebrae in her spine, leaving her paralyzed from the chest to below.
Ms. Bloom suffered extensive injuries including a fractured skull, bruising and bleeding to her brain, rupture of both lungs, and laceration of her tongue.
His spine was also shattered at the T6 and T7 vertebrae, causing a fist-shaped knot of bone to protrude from his back.
After waiting four hours for an ambulance, Ms Bloom was taken to a local hospital where doctors began stitching up the wound on her head.
Doctors soon realized the severity of her injuries and took her for three hours to a private hospital, where she spent three days until her condition stabilized.
After six months of surgery and rehabilitation, Ms. Bloom was paralyzed from the chest down and never walked again.
‘Before my accident, I was very active. I grew up on the beaches so I always surfed and felt very comfortable in the ocean,” said Ms Bloom. nine honey.
‘After my accident in 2013 when I broke my back… I have no control. All I have are my arms, so now I feel quite uncomfortable in the ocean because I’m not in control.
Ms Bloom spent a week in a Bangkok hospital before returning home to Australia, where she began a seven-month inpatient rehabilitation.
In a Facebook post marking the 10th anniversary of the accident, Ms Bloom wrote at times that she believes the best version of herself died on concrete.
However, she never imagined that a decade later she would be a two-time world and Australian parasurf champion competing nationally and internationally.
After seven months of rehabilitation in a hospital, Ms Bloom decided to give kayaking a try (pictured)
With the help of family, friends and a modified surfboard, Ms. Bloom is now a two-time para-surfing champion (pictured)
Ms. Bloom was selected as the captain of the Australian team for the 2022 ISA World Para Surfing Championship (pictured)
Sam Bloom and her husband Cameron after winning gold at the 2020 World Para Surfing Championships in San Diego (pictured)
She thanked a staff member who works at her rehab center for recognizing her former passion for sports and pushing her to try different types of para-athletics.
Initially, the staff member encouraged her to try wheelchair basketball, but Ms Bloom suggested kayaking instead.
He started rowing after he got out of rehab because he loved being in the water and out of his wheelchair.
The sport brought solitude and independence to Ms Bloom and in 2015 she was selected to compete as part of the Australian ParaCanoe team at the World Championships in Milan.
Five years later, Ms. Bloom decided to try para-surfing despite her fears that she wouldn’t be able to dive under the waves or run on the beach when there’s a “big dump on the shoreline.”
Ms. Bloom addressed her fears with the help of her family, friends, and a modified surfboard that has grips that allow her to control the board with her arms.
“It’s amazing, but it’s also frustrating because I would do anything to be able to run on the beach with just my board. But I can’t do that anymore,’ said Mrs Bloom.
“Everyone has a different story and everyone has overcome enormous challenges to get back into the ocean. When you’re talking to others who have suffered similar injuries, we just get it.
“We just understand how hard it can be and how difficult it is mentally to deal with your new life. But if you have a purpose and a goal and something to aspire to, everything changes.’
In August 2018, Ms Bloom was selected as a member of the Australian Adaptive Surfing Team and won gold for Australia at the 2019 and 2020 World Para-Surfing Championships.
Ms Bloom (pictured with her son Ruben) is also featured on limited edition Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate bars depicting the word ‘courage’ for Cadbury’s ‘A Cheer & A Half’ campaign.
Mrs Bloom pictured with her husband Cameron (left) and their three children Noah, Rueben and Oli
She was announced as the captain of the Australian team at the 2022 ISA World Para Surfing Championship in November and reached the final after placing fourth in the Prone Non Assist competition.
Ms Bloom is also featured, along with other sporting icons, on limited edition Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate bars depicting the word ‘courage’ in the ‘A Cheer & A Half’ campaign.
For Ms Bloom, being in the arena with a disability is difficult, but her courage comes from being pushed out of her comfort zone and still “trying”.
She hopes the campaign will bring attention, donations and volunteers to adaptive sports and wants to inspire other Australians living with disabilities to give sports a try.