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Big, really strong guys were suddenly ending up in wheelchairs; SPECIAL REPORT.

GERHARD Mostert, physiotherapist at Edgbaston since 2001, is driven by a lifelong passion for promoting health.

And so much depends, he is certain, on doing the right things in mind as well as body.

Mental, as well as physical, flab needs removing.

Life in 2006 can be very comfortable which opens up the option for people to take it very easy. Bad move.

If any of his charges show signs of taking health and fitness for granted, Mostert can cite evidence from time spent dealing with horrific injuries in a mining hospital in his native South Africa.

Born and educated in a village north of Bloemfontein, Mostert spent four years qualifying at the University of Free State.

Having done the theory, he was then abruptly and eye-openingly introduced to the practical side of medicine.

"I spent 18 months working at a hospital at Welkom," Mostert recalls.

"We dealt with loads of spinal injuries to guys who came down from north Africa for work.

"They worked very hard to send money back to their families.

"These were big, strong guys on whom their families depended and suddenly they could not move their arms and legs and were in wheelchairs.

"Really strong people, who grafted really hard, all of a sudden couldn't move.

"That's mentally difficult to take. I sometimes think back to those days and wonder if some people today realise how lucky they are.

"They don't have the same level of motivation to achieve things. If they have a bit of talent they get things easy, sometimes too easy. They don't have to work for things."

Mostert has a point.

"Progress" has galloped forward, enriching our lives in so many ways. But there are also negative side-effects.

"In the big picture, things are turning full circle," he said. "If you go back ages and ages, human beings had to fight for their existence. They had to protect themselves from other tribes and wild animals, get water and catch food.

"Now we are regressing and getting very lazy and cocooned. Now we don't even want to go to the supermarket - just phone them up and they drop it all at your house!"

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GERHARD MOSTERT.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Oct 26, 2006
Words:365
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