Paralympian Tim Hodge credits Allied Health

Thousands of children across the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network (SCHN) are treated and supported by our incredible allied health staff each year.

The strength of this workforce was celebrated at the annual SCHN Allied Health Awards last week, taking place virtually with a heartfelt speech from a former patient.

Paralympic and Commonwealth Games para-swimmer, Tim Hodge, shared his journey from birth to the success he has had today - and the impact allied health professionals have had along the way.

The 21-year-old was born missing two fingers and a toe while also living with Fibular Hemimelia, which meant that he had to have his right leg amputated before starting primary school.  

"The surgery has enabled me to receive a better fitting prosthetic leg and allowed me to run, jump and play sport with other kids rather than sitting on the sidelines,” Tim said.  

“I remember sitting in bed one night after surgery with a bandage on my leg, and I said to my mum, ‘I’ll never be good at anything now’. My mum responded by saying, 'you will be good at something; we’ll just have to find what it is.'”

Tim went on to play multiple sports growing up including, soccer, baseball, cricket, karate and tennis. But his love for swimming saw it became his focus and at 14-years-old, he achieved selection for the Australian Team.

Tim is the reigning World Champion and world record holder in the 200m Individual Medley (in any para-swimming classification), the Commonwealth Games Champion and record holder in the 100m Backstroke (multi-class). He credits the support of his parents and allied health team for helping him “achieve my goals and dreams to date.”

“I met my first prosthetist at 11 months old, when he made my first leg after I began walking. Thanks to them, I have been able to walk, run and play sports, breaking a few prosthetic feet along the way.

“I started working with an occupational therapist to improve my dexterity after surgery to separate my fused fingers. When I started school, my occupational therapist at the Sydney Children’s Hospital helped me access the technology and exam assistance I needed.”

Tim has also worked alongside social workers, speech pathologists, physiotherapists and podiatrists to strengthen his mobility, performance and mitigate the emotional impact of surgery.

“It is due to the assistance and support from all these health professionals, that I have been able to accomplish more than I had ever thought possible. “I would like to say thank you for your invaluable work. You enable us to overcome the obstacles that life has thrown at us and allow us to pursue our hopes and dreams.”

Tim is studying for a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering at Western Sydney University. His career highlights thus far include:

  • The Rio 2016 & Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games
  • World Para Swimming Championships in 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2022
  • The 2018 Gold Coast and 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games
  • The 2018 Para Pan-Pacific Games
  • Won medals at all four championships and broken three world records

We thank Tim for his support and advocacy to our allied health staff. Tim's story helps us recognise the essential role of allied health staff in supporting recovery, strength and lifestyle.