Remarkable man who survived car crashes, a coma, losing his leg and Covid is selected for Paralympics

An Ayrshire man who survived two car crashes, a coma, losing his leg and even Covid-19 has been selected to represent Team GB at the upcoming Paralympics.

When Callum Deboys woke up from a month-long coma in 2017 following a road accident, his left leg had been amputated.

Rather than wallowing, the young chef set his sights high and was determined to become a Paralympian.

Years of graft ensued for the 25-year-old to fulfill his dream of racing with Nordic skiers at the 2022 Beijing games.

And that dream was almost dust when he was involved in a second serious crash in October 2021.

But even a bout of deadly Covid-19 after his recovery couldn’t lead the star skier off piste when weeks later he secured a coveted place on the GB squad.

callum deboys
Callum Deboys was in a crash in 2017 which put him in a coma for a month, when he woke up, his leg was amputated

Callum, from Prestwick, will take part in arduous cross country and biathlon events on the world stage next month.

He told the Daily Record: “Finding out I was on the team was such a relief.

“I wanted a place so badly, it’s all I’ve worked for and after last year’s crash I thought I’d never make it.

“Looking at what I’ve come through is amazing.

“I can’t wait to get to China.”

Callum DeBoys
In October last year Callum thought his Paralympic dream was all over when he was involved in a second serious road accident

In 2015, aged 19, Callum attempted suicide after a ‘dark period’ in his life.

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Two years later, while en route to work in Girvan, his motorbike crashed with a car.

Callum suffered a ruptured diaphragm, punctured lung, two injured vertebrae, femur damage in his left leg and a broken right leg.

Doctors prepared his parents — Richard and Bridget, both in their 50s — and sister Abigail, 28, for the worst as he was put in an induced coma and had his left leg amputated.

Thankfully, one month later, Callum woke up and after a few ‘down days’ decided to go for gold.

callum deboys
Callum Deboys (right) is a Para Nordic skier

“It completely changed my mindset, I wanted to set challenges and achieve them,” he added.

“After six months of recovery I looked into disabled rowing at Strathclyde Country Park and it went from there.”

Callum met 32-year-old Para Nordic skier, Scott Meenagh, from Cumbernauld in North Lanarkshire, who introduced him to snow sports.

“I’d never skied in my life but wanted to give anything to go,” Callum added.

“I loved it straight away and set my sights on the Paralympics.”

Years of hardcore training and competing saw Callum in the running to be selected for the Beijing games, alongside Meenagh.

But his goal was almost in tatters after a second horror crash last October when his bike crashed with a car in Ayr.

“I broke my nose and tore my tricep tendon off the bone, the pain was excruciating,” he said.

“Lying on the road I thought, ‘it’s all over’ I was devastated.”

Hope was not lost for fighter Callum who recovered after 10 weeks of physio and could race in Norway in January to help secure a Team GB spot.

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But in another devastating blow, days before racing, he caught deadly Covid-19.

“You really couldn’t make it up,” he added.

“Having to isolate I knew I only had one shot left competition-wise, so I had to be fit for that.”

Thankfully he was and, fresh out of isolation, headed to Sweden for one last crack at the whip.

Incredibly, Callum knocked it out of the park, finishing events with a score that looked favorable among Team GB chiefs.

His place was confirmed via email this week.

“I’ve spent years of fighting back so hard, and now I’ve made it,” he said.

“I might not win any medals out in China but just competing will be amazing.

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“My family and partner are so proud, unfortunately due to Covid they can’t come to China but I know I have their support.”

He added: “To any other amputees thinking of aiming for the Paralympics – go for it.

“Before the first crash I’d never skied, barely traveled and had a completely different mindset.

“Now I’ve achieved so much, traveled to many countries and representing Great Britain.

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“Don’t be afraid of what lies ahead, you never know what you could achieve.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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