Todd Hodgetts on Life with a Non-Visible Disability

Season 1, Episode 10,  Oct 30, 2020, 02:00 AM

Australian Paralympic shot put champion Todd Hodgetts on life with autism and coping strategies for managing emotions and learning new skills.

Todd ‘The Hulk’ Hodgetts speaks candidly about life with autism in Australia and why he refuses to let disability control his life. He talks about focusing on what he can do and his coping strategies for managing his emotions and learning new skills. 

Hodgetts, a two-time Paralympian who won F20 shot put gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, opened up on how his intellectual impairment has affected his life, how he has learnt to interact with others and his early years dealing with his disability. 

"I was eight years of age. It wasn't great. It's like you've just jumped off a bridge or a cliff, one of the hardest days of my life. 'How am I going to get out of this situation and try and act as normal as possible?' Then, when I was 16, I said to the doctor: 'Am I cured yet?' because I had more tests. He just laughed. I didn't really want this when I was born, I just wanted to be normal and live a normal life."

The gentle giant of Paralympics Australia is a fighter and  a true great of his sport. You could say he’s taken his inspiration from the movies – and one franchise in particular. 

“My life is beginning now, I'm still learning things. It's not over until it's over. That's from the Rocky movies, it's one of my mottos and you just have to keep going. I’m a local boy from Tasmania who never had anything in life because people said I had a few learning difficulties. He becomes an undisputed champion of the world. Keep on keeping on.” 

Hodgetts’ story is one of bravery, barrier breaking behaviours and an outlook on the world that is mixed with religion, love and humour.  

Learning topics for this episode include mental health, non-visible disabilities, strength training, religion, interacting with others and inspiration. 

Allianz is a long-standing partner of the International Paralympic Committee. Together, we’re proud to bring you this series of podcasts. We aim to help you move forward in all aspects of your personal and professional life. 

By hearing from Paralympic stars, you’ll be introduced to stories that inspire and change the way you think. Stories of facing life’s challenges with confidence, determination and excellence, and the true power of having the right team behind you