Fair Play

Para Climber Rachel Maia Finds New Strength after Leg Amputation

Rachel Maia, para climber
Rachel Maia [Erana Pound & Rachel Maia]

Zoe George visits New Zealand Para Climber Rachel Maia following leg amputation surgery, which she anticipates will finally set her free from pain so she can continue her rock climbing career

Fair Play is a co-production of Radio New Zealand & WiSP Sports and hosted by Zoe George

Podcast length: 26′ 52″

This month episode is a little different. There’s no guest host just a feature guest and of course it’s not Fair Play without an update from the Basin Reserve toilets. The name Rachel Maia will be familiar to fair play fans. Rachel as a para climber she is a vivacious driven and highly motivated rock climber who exudes positivity and strong well you wouldn’t think that over the past 20 years she’s struggled and so many ways as a teenager she found solace and enjoyment and sport particularly rock climbing. It was a huge part of her identity at 16 though a rift climbing accident changed her world. She was off on a school climbing trip doing the last climb of the day when she fell awkwardly. She broke one ankle and shattered the other. At first she didn’t think it was major but her left leg was dissipated and she was wheelchair bound. She had to learn to walk again. Since then she’s undergone 9 surgeries experimental treatments relied on crutches and has had years of constant pain. It was not just her physical ability that was damaged in the last two decades she’s battled with negative labels loss of identity low self-esteem and image issues. Not only could she not climb. She struggled to do things many of us would take for granted including doing things with her three children one of whom she describes as having the superpower of autism but she’s regaining her confidence and the last two years she’s been scaling to great heights and the climbing world and this year she is eyeing up Nationals at the end of May and Worlds and France in July.  Recently she made a life altering decision. She opted to amputate her lift leg just below the knee possibly allowing her to be more able than ever before in mid February. After two years of preparation she went into surgery. Zoe George visited her in hospital 48 hours after the doctors removed her leg and started by asking her about what she thought about when the doctors put her to sleep.

READ Zoe’s article with links to more information relating to this episode here

LISTEN to more episodes of FAIR PLAY HERE

or subscribe to WiSP Sports wherever you listen to podcasts – look for the show logo:









Photo: Erana Pound @thecultureofgrace & @rachelmaianz
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