Callum Deboys - From Cooking Up A Dish To Heating Up His Career.

Aspiring Chef, Callum Deboys went from the kitchen to the track via the wintery slopes, after suffering life changing injuries from a near fatal road traffic accident.

For Paralympian, Callum Deboys (27), life has taken many different paths to where he finds himself now. As a child, Callum loved the great outdoors and would always be outside playing football with his friends; at school he would play Rugby and has always been super competitive.

When the time came to leave school, Callum was unsure what he wanted to do with his life and began studying an engineering course, but didn’t really take to it, so decided to leave and got himself a ‘wee job’ in the local pub. This short term endeavour sparked a bigger interest and before he knew it, Callum was embarking on a journey to becoming a Chef. “This took hold of me and I threw myself into it”, said Callum.

So after travelling around for a year, honing his craft, Callum moved back to Kirkmichael and got a job at Trump Turnberry as a pastry chef. This is the point Callum’s life took a tragic twist of fate! One morning in 2017, not long after his 21st Birthday, Callum jumped on his motorcycle and left his village for his journey to work. En-route, Callum attempted to overtake a car and hadn’t noticed another vehicle coming the other way and stared down the barrel of a head on collision. In a blind panic, Callum ‘highsided’ his motorbike (highsiding is when you come off the bike on the side furthest from the ground), and he landed on his feet sending a massive shockwave through his body.

The accident resulted in catastrophic injuries to Callum’s body and he was put in a medically induced coma before being airlifted to the Queen Elizebeth Hospital in Glasgow, where he would spend the next few weeks and months. Once there, Callum was rushed into emergency surgery to fix his broken diaphragm, and then onto fix both his broken legs. He also sustained a punctured lung and broken ribs, along with two broken vertebrae and sustained hearing loss in his right ear.

After surgery, Callum spent the next month in his coma and during this time, his left leg was amputated above the knee. “I woke up from my coma and had the sudden realisation that I only had one leg”, remembers Callum. Life would never be the same again!

“I spent 2 or 3 days feeling sorry for myself before realising its only my leg so I’ve just got to get on with it and have pretty much adopted that mindset ever since”, said Callum. When faced with the reality of his new situation, Callum found the mental strength to keep himself moving forwards and focusing on his rehabilitation. “I used humour as a big part of this and just took the mickey out of myself and would make jokes. This reassured everyone else around me that I am ok”, Callum continues.

Upon hearing the news of his accident, Callum’s’ parents and sister rushed to his bedside and spent ever day and every night with him. “They practically moved into the hospital”, said Callum. Rehab started in the hospital and once he had been discharged, he went to West of Scotland Mobility and Rehabilitation Centre (WestMARC) to continue his journey back to mobility. It was here that Callum would meet his long-term prosthetist, David Morrison.

“I first met Callum when he was brought to see us in WestMARC following his serious motorcycle accident”, said David. “He was coming over to begin his physiotherapy before being limb fitted. He was wearing a spinal brace that extended from the bottom part of his head to his pelvis. He also had extensive injuries to his none amputated leg too. Despite his condition it was clear he was very keen to learn and progress with his rehab”.

Having grown up in the same village as David, Callum instantly formed a connection with him and quickly developed that trust that a patient comes to have in their clinician! Outside of WestMARC, Callum would set himself little challenges to motivate himself, such as walking to a certain place in a faster time that the previous attempt. “I wanted to get back walking and back to fitness as soon as I could, I didn’t just want to sit around”, said Callum.

These small challenges turned into training habits which motivated Callum even more. During his time at the hospital, a Paralympic Skier called Scott Meenagh came to visit, and it was a case of being in the right place at the right. As this chance meeting would unlock a new path in his journey that would ultimately transform him from an injured Chef to a Paralympic athlete. After completing his rehab, Callum joined a local rowing club and his coach was Scott’s former coach and after getting back in contact with Scott, Callum had the opportunity to go away skiing in Germany to try Cross Country and Biathlon. “My one goal lying in my hospital bed, was to get to a Paralympics and Para-Skiing seemed really hard”, said Callum. “I wanted something that would stretch me and make me work for it”.

In 2022, Callum achieved his goal and competed at the Beijing Winter Paralympics! Reaching the pinnacle of sport in less that five years post-accident is a truly amazing feat and one that Callum remains proud of to this day. “4 years of back breaking work and all the pain and suffering came down to this point; and it was all worth it”, said Callum.

After the Paralympics, Callum changed discipline and began training as a Para-Cyclist. His burning desire to be the best continued, “I managed to get a spot at the talent ID day with British Cycling and proved my worth”, said Callum. “I worked up from the talent squad to the development squad over the course of 3 months.

After David Morrison joined Dorset Orthopaedic and opened the Glasgow branch, Callum made the move with him. Now both of them work collaboratively on innovations to help Callum improve his cycling and once again reach the top of the mountain.

“My experience with Dorset Orthopaedic so far has been incredible. The time and energy given to me has been unbelievable”, explains Callum. ”From the minute you walk in the door you feel at the centre of everything and it gives you a nice feeling that you’re going to be well looked after”.

Through this whole experience, Callum has remained positive and optimistic. “Trust the process and be patient”, said Callum. “Be hungry and motivated; you need to let your body recover and heal but find your purpose and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Don’t be afraid to push your limits”.