Corey Cronin freely admits that he felt like “giving up” after losing the use of his legs in a motocross accident.
“I just couldn’t do the things I used to do,” he says. “I felt useless.”
But Corey battled through the depression and now owns the 24-hour Outback Gym & Fitness Centre in Alice Springs.
Not surprisingly, the close-knit community of Alice knows it simply as Corey’s Gym.
“The gym means a lot to me,” he says. “It keeps me busy and I have met a lot of people from opening it.
“I try to keep as fit and strong as I can so if a cure does come hopefully my body will be ready for it.
“The stronger and fitter I am, the easier my day-to-day life is.”
Corey, 31, played touch and rugby league as a boy, but motorsport was his first love.
He became NT motocross champion in 2000 at the age of just 15.
“I loved it so much,” he says. “I was always riding, always training. It was everything to me.”
But tragedy struck in 2009 when he crashed on the first corner in a race in Alice.
Corey thought he had merely dislocated his shoulder – but, in fact, his injuries were life-threatening.
He spent three months in intensive care in Adelaide – his lungs collapsed, and he suffered pneumonia –and he wasn’t discharged from hospital for a year.
Corey, who went to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College, has lived in Alice Springs his whole life.
“It’s a great town with top people. It’s going through problems with youth crime at the moment, but once that’s sorted Alice will become a top place to visit.”