The Grafton Athletics Club after winning a swag of medals at the NSW Country Championships last year, including Mitch Christiansen, Hanna Tait, Nicole Tait and coach Terry West.
The Grafton Athletics Club after winning a swag of medals at the NSW Country Championships last year, including Mitch Christiansen, Hanna Tait, Nicole Tait and coach Terry West.

Tough Terry carries on coaching after stroke scare

WE HAVE all heard of 'Terry tough guy', but one Grafton sports coach has brought a new meaning to the phrase.

Grafton Athletics Club coach Terry West has spent the last few weeks at John Flynn Hospital on the Gold Coast after suffering from a stroke after a training session at Junction Hill.

The 74-year-old then drove himself home and went to Lismore Base Hospital, before being transported to the Gold Coast soon afterwards.

"I'm going all right. I'll be out on Thursday but I was very lucky indeed," West said.

"The physios have been brilliant up here. I didn't lose any of my cognitive skills which is good. It was mainly my balance skills that were effected."

Terry West presents the Max Godbee Award to Cheryl Kinnane at the 2017 Clarence Valley Sports Awards
Terry West presents the Max Godbee Award to Cheryl Kinnane at the 2017 Clarence Valley Sports Awards

A current or former member of several other sporting organisations in the Clarence Valley, West isn't used to the idea of slowing down.

"I've been working on training programs from the computer up here. I've been exercising a bit too much in my room as well," he said.

"I've got shin splints for the first time in my life. I wear them as a bit of a badge of honour."

Some would suggest for West to use the incident as a reason to take a step back, but for the man who has lived for coaching, that just isn't an option.

"I'm sort of more invigorated to coach now," he said.

While reluctant to relinquish any of his duties, West will still use the stroke as a learning experience as he moves forward.

"I hope I've learnt to be a bit more intelligent with myself. On about the third day I was in physio, I developed a mantra. I kept saying to myself 'practice what you preach'," he said.

"You see what others are going through at the physio and rehab unit and it makes my issues feel like nothing. We have to realise how lucky we are.

"I have ignored some signs but it's been good. It's a great hospital and I have the luxury of looking out the window at the Queensland border crossing."

Recovering on the Gold Coast, West said it has been difficult for family to visit but appreciates all the supportive messages he has received.

"It's hard when my wife comes to visit. She can't come up very often as she has to go over the border crossing," he said.

"But I've got a lot of texts and support. That has meant a lot to me up here."