From wheelchair to surfboard, the incredible optimism and recovery of a double amputee


Stephen “Lobby” Lobb has faced more than his fair share of challenges in life, but he never let obstacles slow him down.

Almost two years after losing both legs in a horrific car accident, Mr. Lobb is back to doing what he loves: mountain biking, surfing and even a desire to become a Paralympian.

His wife Emma says that although it was difficult, her husband, who was born deaf and is now a double amputee, was always pressured to “get back to normal as much as possible”.

Mr Lobb was in a coma for 12 hours after crashing his car on the Gold Coast on his way home from a bike ride in February 2020.

“There were officers at the scene who were able to tourniquet him because he had significant damage,” Ms. Lobb said.

“He lost both legs below the knee.

“Lobby” is back on the surfboard after losing both legs below the knee.(Provided: Emma Lobb)

From day one in his hospital bed, Mr. Lobb began planning his return to cycling and boarding.

“We put in visualization boards and photos and he looked at them every day,” Ms. Lobb said.

“We just weren’t going to let him bring us down, bring him down.

smiling man and woman
Emma Lobb says there was a lot of laughter throughout her husband’s recovery. (ABC Gold Coast: Heidi Sheehan)

During his five weeks at Gold Coast University Hospital, Mr Lobb became known to staff for his unwavering optimism and “wicked sense of humor”.

“He had the nicest staff to help him in so many ways; we couldn’t have done it without them,” Ms. Lobb said.

A patient who changes life

Mr. and Mrs. Lobb developed a close bond with the trauma nurses caring for him, meeting them again in November.

“Anytime I have a tough shift I think about Stephen. It just stays with you.”

man standing with three women
Alex Evans, Stephen and Emma Lobb and Charlotte Winkleman at Gold Coast University Hospital. (ABC Gold Coast: Heidi Sheehan)

Ms. Winkleman received Mr. Lobb upon his release from intensive care.

“Losing one limb is super traumatic. Losing both limbs is completely life changing,” Ms. Winkleman said.

man on the beach
Mr. Lobb is now back on the surfboard after losing both legs in a car crash in 2020. (Provided: Emma and Stephen Lobb)

Orthopedics and Trauma Department nurse Alex Evans said Mr Lobb had been “a central part of his nursing career” as the ICU’s first patient.

Nervous about dealing with such a complex trauma patient, Ms Evans said Mr Lobb calmed her nerves.

“Her personality was the same from day one,” she said.

“He never doubted himself, ever. He took it all like it could be worse.”


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