Wed | Sep 23, 2020

Navardo Griffiths: from coma and amputation to Paralympics dream

Published:Tuesday | February 19, 2019 | 12:00 AM

After being revived from a coma that lasted roughly one year and six months, then waking up to realise he could no longer walk, 31-year-old Navardo Griffiths now has his eyes set on representing Jamaica at the 2020 Paralympics in South Korea and the Parapan American Games in August this year.

Electrocuted in 2010 while walking through a property in St Catherine, Griffiths questioned whether life was worth living after he discovered his legs were amputated.

“I gave up on life, thinking it would be the end. I was passing through [private] property at a bauxite plant. They were doing some relocation of equipment from the property. A couple of my friends and I were going across. Somehow they didn’t turn off the main breakers, so current was still in the wire hanging down. Because the place bush up, I didn’t see the electric wire, so I stepped on it,” he told The Gleaner on Sunday at the annual Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run in New Kingston, which raised more than $50 million for charity.

‘At the point of suicide’

Stepping on that wire was the last thing Griffiths remembered that day. It would be 18 months before he would regain consciousness.

“I was in a coma and was in the intensive care unit for eight months. After that, they placed me on a ward,” he explained.

“When I woke up, I found out my legs were amputated. I didn’t know that was the plan because they did the operation while I was in intensive care. [Losing my legs] got me down. After coming out, it took me about two years to recover. I was at the point of suicide, but I started thinking that if Father God wanted me dead, I would have died from the incident.”

Griffiths’ real saving grace came when he was introduced to the national Paralympics programme, under the guidance of Neville Sinclair. He now trains alongside star Paralympian Alphanso Cunningham and revealed that his respect for Cunningham has made them best friends.

“I am training for the shot put event. My coach says I am doing good. I am not there yet, but getting there. Participating at the Paralympics would be a dream come true,” he toldThe Gleaner.

Griffiths’ personal best in the shot put is 9.3 metres, well off the world record of more than 14 metres, but, he said: “I am 100 per cent determined to get there. I train every day, so Jamaica can look forward to that.”

The Sigma Run raised $52.4 million for the Lupus Foundation, the Diabetes Association of Jamaica, and the May Pen Hospital’s Neonatal Unit.