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Resilient Tales: Ryan “Quaddy” Dollisson

Finding Resilience after a truly life-changing incident.

In December 2012, on an otherwise run-of-the-mill workday, Ryan “Quaddy” Dollisson had a workplace accident that would forever change his life.

As someone who had always enjoyed working with his hands, Ryan tried a few careers straight out of school. He eventually fell into Railway Maintenance and Construction, working with good friends and a trustworthy crew.

However, on this particular day, something went drastically wrong.

“I was supervising the job and jumped on the rail to inspect some work. There was a 14-tonne excavator up on the track, being driven by a fella from another company,” he says.

“He started backing up on the track and before I knew it the blade of the machine had sliced my foot off above the ankle. I instinctively grabbed hold of the blade so I wouldn’t get sucked any further under the machine. In the end, I was dragged along for about 15 meters”.

Ryan says that - once the machine had finally come to a halt - the first thing he did was scream out for his best mate, Jed, who was also working on the crew.

“I screamed so hard for my mate to come help me that the pressure burst all the blood vessels in my eyes. On top of missing a foot and all the skin down one entire side of my body, I also had these massively red eyes!”.

It turns out that the incident was probably the result of an unknown perfect storm: everyone’s last day on site, miscommunications between crews, no reversing cameras on the machine and general driver inattention.

It was the start of a long, painful and consistently testing road to recovery. This journey included almost 6 months in hospital, learning to do almost everything again and a drawn-out Supreme Court case that tested the very limits of his soul.

“I was a very active, fit and - I thought - invincible young bloke at the time. I was playing pretty high-level footy, loved my surfing and basketball and also the physicality of my job,” said Ryan.

In the ensuing years, Ryan found resources of Resilience within himself that he never knew existed. However, for him the cornerstone of Resilience has always been community and family.

“I learnt to stay Resilient by being very true to myself and what I like and value,” he says, “And by surrounding myself with good, like-minded people who are out to strive for better things for themselves too”.

Although he’s now 10 years post-accident, Ryan has been having Private Consultations with The Resilience Lab since November 2023.

“Initially, I just felt like I needed to re-align myself as I’m a busy dad, with a million projects going on. I felt like my life was spiralling out of control a bit in terms of how much time and energy I was able to put into my wellbeing”.

“Since I’ve been working with you guys, I have noticed huge changes in myself. I have better mental clarity, a longer fuse and less frustration and anger at the world,” he says.

“I’ve also noticed some pretty powerful physical things too- like much, much better sleep, that I’m performing noticeably better during physical exercise and that my overall motivation and outlook on life is at a much higher level”.

“Oh yeah…and I’ve dropped over 10 kilograms!”.

Learn more about Ryan’s story via our YouTube Channel by clicking HERE.

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