Driven on the Inside

Right foot flat on the pedal, eyes fixated on the stretch of road ahead, 7500RPM at more than 200km per hour. The roar of the engine and the feeling of pure exhilaration is not dissimilar to the captain of this machine and how he treads each journey.

Focused and determined to thrust the machine to maximum capacity, Khoa is confident to only dab on the brake for a split second, almost as a tease that ensures maximum speed out of the turn. He does not disappoint at 170km an hour.

On a regular Saturday night in December 2012, Khoa headed out with friends to escape the last of the summer heat and have a few drinks as he had done so many times before.

The company and the club did not disappoint; loud music, continuous drinks, and strobe lights made for a great atmosphere. Everyone was having the time of their life.

Recovery after a big night is hard.

Three weeks later and Boxing Day, Khoa opened his eyes to his Mother and Brother sitting beside him. Still dazed from waking, he asked them to take his shoes off so he could stretch his toes after dancing until the early hours. For a simple request, they looked
worried. Quietly and simply his mother whispered, “Khoa, you’ve lost your legs”.

This new and confronting reality did not compute at first.

Acknowledging what they said, Khoa was simultaneously convincing himself that he would head home in a taxi and come back to the hospital later that day.

The heavy pain relief and sedation from emergency surgery had not yet worn off.

Khoa Nam Tran has turned his trauma into a vehicle to inspire others.

It is common especially after surviving trauma to feel denial.

This Captains’ undisputable strength saw him skip anger, bargaining, and depression before bypassing straight to acceptance although acutely unaware of his new truth.

Khoa was involved in a high-speed vehicle accident that saw one passenger dead, one brain-damaged for life, and himself living with bilateral amputation. “It didn’t really sink in until I went to go to the toilet, and I hit the deck. I fell, and I hit hard.”

Legs or no legs, Khoa started setting goals to return his own body back to maximum capacity.

An Audi sports lover for years. The brand’s motto was now a mindset for the next step. “Teach both novice and experienced drivers significant road skills, whilst familiarising themselves with the latest automotive technology and allowing the opportunity to
experience the thrill of unleashing an Audi on the track.”

With his life ahead of him, Khoa was determined to be independent healthy, and most of all happy.

Khoa needed a team of Rehabilitation specialists, a leg mechanic (Surgeon and Prosthetist) and physiotherapy, surrounding himself with positivity and optimism. Khoa’s medical team contacted Amputees NSW for advice and support.

It took months to heal and walk again, but Khoa not only goes to the gym daily. He bought it and now trains others to reach their fitness goals.

Pre accident, he was shy and uncomfortable around strangers. But Khoa decided he not only wanted to walk. He wanted to build his confidence in public speaking by sharing his story with others. After some gentle encouragement from a good friend, he featured
on Network Ten Taboo which showcased disability and found humour in everyday activities. “It’s okay to laugh. I love to laugh and it’s important to remain positive.”

He found High Vibe Project and travelled the world pre lockdown as well as hosting his own podcast speaking publicly about his story.

Khoa said his Podcast has translated to so many people and celebrated similarity instead of difference. “I have no intention of dabbing on the brake in life.”

This year Khoa was co-author of his first book Garden of Hope. An inspiring collection of stories that will make you believe in love, hope, and joy.

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