"I do think people judge my future by my past when they hear my story. But I'd rather be clean with no legs than addicted with legs. I'd piss in a jug every day for the rest of my life if I had the chance to pursue a ski racing future." 
Jason Sauer is an Australian bobsledding and paraskeleton Paralympian. Learning to drive a bobsled just two months after having a double-leg amputation at age 39. He currently ranks 15th in the world as a Paralympic bobsledder. His achievements to date include 12th place at the Oberhof World Cup in January 2017 and 14th place at the World Championships at St.Moritz in February 2017.
Jason was confronted with a ski culture world of drug and alcohol use at age 16, observing it as a way to gain social acceptance. Up until an experience on Christmas Day in 2010 that ultimately took his legs, Jason battled for years between drug abuse and sobriety; A dangerous feedback loop that Jason now dedicates time to helping others achieve sustainable sobriety.
“If I’m really honest with my self…nothing surpasses the joy of helping others.”
Jason’s story takes us through to some dark places and we would like to put a disclaimer on this podcast that explicit adult themed topics are discussed. But we are sharing Jason’s story because he is a man that was faced with a choice to let his physical circumstances define the limits of his existence, or to use the gifts passion and love he still possessed, to create an extraordinary life for himself. We are grateful he went with the later option!
Jason is driven by a strong passion to help others whilst achieving incredible results in his preferred sports of bobsledding and sit-skiiing. This podcast influenced my thinking on how sport can heal. I had always been nervous to say this because I was worried it could lead to that sensation of burying your troubles behind sport or running away from things. But Jason showed me in this podcast that if you truly love what you do and your sport, then do it! No strings attached! If it makes you feel like a better person then be a better person. My only caution here is to also seek other balancing activities and values so that you are ‘Hanny who loves running’ not ‘a runner called Hanny’. Therein lies a distinction.
“Life is to be enjoyed. So do I enjoy skiing? Yes. Then let’s ski!"
Take home points I got:
Sport can heal. If you truly love what you do and your sport, then do it! No strings attached! If it makes you feel like a better person then be a better person.
Using faith and spirituality to paint a more holistic and complex picture of your future. I guess this is about being open to greater possibilities than just what your mind can think of. Lends itself to ‘dream big!’
If sport gives us joy, then we need to stop always thinking about ‘how can I be better?’ or ‘how can I not get injured?’ but rather, 'how can I love this into my old age?’. I feel this slight shift in thinking might make it easier for us to be more playful, more compassionate and potentially a better athletic version of us into our older years too.
The challenges regarding the commercialisation of sport and self-centric approach many elite athletes have to take to reach the top of their game
Helping others can be the biggest single driver for us.
If you enjoy it, just enjoy it.
Jason and I both share the belief that life is extraordinary when we choose to see it as such. If you would like to continue following Jason’s story, you can find him here on Facebook. You can support Jason's 2022 Paralympic bid through his tax deductible fundraising link at: https://asf.org.au/athletes/jason-sauer/
“I do try to trust in the spirit of some sort. I don’t want to just rely on what my mind can create."