Jason Barrell’s story makes compelling listening. It’s an amazing story of an extraordinary man. It tells of the courage and strength an individual can find when life deals out some cruel blows. Most of us find excuses in every day occurrences, excuses to stop us from challenging ourselves, excuses which stop us from going through the pain barriers. Jason hasn’t.
Most of us choose the pain of disappointment over the pain of discipline. Jason’s story is electrifying. It reminds us of the power of the human spirit and reminds us that in all of us there is the capacity for greatness
Jason Barrell is a well-known Northlander. He and his brother Con made a formidable team in the front row of scrums, and he played Super 12 and NPC rugby. Difficulty at school was put down to dyslexia, but Jason beat the odds of most school drop outs and went on to establish his own business, ironically named Rockbottom Enterprises.
A gifted athlete, his prowess on the rugby field led to selection first in Northland provincial teams, then The Chiefs Super 12 team, The Blues Super 12 team, and then NPC for Auckland. A freak accident on the rugby field resulted in a broken neck and the end of a professional rugby career. Broken but not beaten and with six months of traction to think about his options, Jason decided to join the police force.
After completing the grueling training programme, Constable Barrell entered the NZ Police. But something wasn’t quite right. An MRI scan found a life-threatening tumour which was causing strokes, and four hours of surgery, turned into nine. Jason came through alive, but the brain surgery caused damage and left him needing to relearn everything, from walking to feeding himself.
Jason challenges people to re-evaluate their own limitations, real or imagined, to take responsibility for their own lives, and to stop making excuses as to why they are not living-up to their true potential.
Jason challenges his audience to think differently – to view adversity as a worthy experience – to learn the art of grunt work – to conquer fear through focus – to live life with passion on their own terms. He is a man of enormous character, passion, humour, warm and friendly – the quiet achiever.
Jason is an ordinary New Zealander who has faced some extraordinary events. Jason shows us that there is the capacity for greatness in each of us, and that the only true disability is in our attitude.