Ian Gooch's story

Ian is a below-knee amputee and a valuable member of the amputee community.

My name is Ian I was born in Mildura in December 1940. I was a bit of a sportsman up there. I was the captain of the Mildura Thirds under-18 Premiership side. The family moved to Melbourne in 1959 where I played football with the South Melbourne Thirds and South Melbourne Seconds and in 1962 we won a Premiership with the South Melbourne districts.

We have two children Paul and Jane. Paul is married to an American girl and they have one child so we’ve got one grandson. Oliver, he is quite amazing he always turns up and says “grandad I’ll take your leg off” so he presses the button and pulls the leg off and the liner and I wiggle my stump at him and say “how many toes are on that foot?”.

In 1998, I had a car accident. I ran into a pole and I was taken by ambulance to the Austin Hospital. I can always remember the chap saying we'll put you in plaster mate and you can go home in the morning. Well, I was there for another three months after that. I had golden staph and so things just went from bad to worse. I had a lot of skin grafts when I was at the Austin and they thought you know they might be able to fix it. This went on for a number of years and in 2002 eventually said yes to a below the knee amputation and I think that was the best thing I've ever done.

It was a good rehab, but I’m a bit too eager to get on and do things. They used to sort of try to hold me back a bit but I was a bit too eager at times. They do the right thing by you, you should do what your’re told, but I’m a bit different.

So I wear regular shoes. I’d never ever heard of a shower leg and I went to this prosthetist and he said to me “Have you got a shower leg?” And I said “What's a shower leg?” and he said it's what you use at night if you want to get up to go to the toilet. I said “I’ve never ever heard of it” and he made the shower leg for me and it was the best thing I’d ever had done.

The Eastern Ranges is the TAC under-18 football League. I’m what they cal a property steward. I go to training two nights a week and help you know to get the footballs ready for training and drink bottles and fill the ice bath up so they can have an ice bath. It’s good to be mixing with the younger generation, it keeps you young. You must be positive that’s the main thing, you’ve just got to make the most of what you got and get on with life.