Our medallist

MEDAL: Martin Jackson won a silver medal in the F38 shot put at the recent Commonwealth Games. (Kevin Salmon / AUSParalympics)

By Justin Flynn

Ocean Grove’s new Commonwealth Games silver medallist was told he’d never walk normally again after a freak accident playing American football.
Martin Jackson, an arborist at the City of Greater Geelong, allowed himself one day to process his thoughts and then immediately set about figuring out what sport he could try next.
Four years after taking up athletics, Jackson now has a Commonwealth Games silver medal after his second placing in the F38 shot put.
“Anything that I’ve taken up, I’ve committed 100% to it,” he said.
“My life revolved around gridiron and chasing excellence. They day after I suffered the injury, they explained that there was a good chance I might not walk properly again so I let it sink in and the next day I was looking for something else to focus on.”
Jackson was the original founder of the Geelong Buccaneers gridiron club and was a star player until an accident during a game left him with a knee dislocation that led to sensory ataxia/loss of proprioception and partial paralysis of his lower left leg.
“I needed to set a goal to recover,” he said.
“I went from the top of my sport right down to the bottom, but self-pity doesn’t do you any favours.”
Jackson’s preparation for the Commonwealth Games couldn’t have gone any worse.
His form in a lead-up event in Brisbane the week before the Games, was, in his own words “horrible”.
“It was the worst performance I had ever put together,” he said.
“I was over thinking things. There had been times when the mental pressure had gotten to me in the past whereas in team sports, it hadn’t.”
A shift in Jackson’s mindset paid off.
“I walked into that stadium knowing this is what I was going to do,” he said.
“The first four throws in the Commonwealth Games, I couldn’t hear a thing I was that focussed.”
Jackson and gold medallist Cameron Crombie are good mates and call themselves the Shot Put Twins.
“I’m Danny DeVito and he’s Arnold Schwarzenegger,” Jackson laughs.
“It’s been a pretty incredible experience. It was a hugely emotional moment (standing on the dais) and I thought I’d probably fall apart up there.”