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Andrea comes from an Italian Family, born in New South Wales. His dad travelled for work and Andrea's family was lucky enough to follow, giving them the opportunity to live in places such as North Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia. Andrea always loved sport as a kid. He won a few 1st place ribbons at primary school swimming competitions and played high school basketball and rugby. When Andrea discovered snowboarding, he ignited a passion and hasn't stopped since.
He trained as a chef in Italy, and after culinary school, moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Andrea remembers Winnipeg for it's cold winters.
"One of the coldest places on earth in winter, Easily go down to -42 but then it becomes -50 with the wind chill…IT’S NUTS! Where I lived you would sometimes see the northern lights, wild life galore and “Islendingadagurinn” or Icelandic Festival of Manitoba."
Andre moved back to Australia in 2011 and kept working as a chef. Then, on the 29th December 2011, at just before midnight Andrea had an accident.
"I was on my way home from work on my bike, when I collided with a taxi, I won’t go into all the detail but I remained conscious from when I found myself laying on the ground until they put me under for my operation. I was the one that called my parents and my girlfriend from the emergency department and told them what was about to happen."
"I spent the next month in hospital. I was very lucky. I had an awesome team of nurses and there was never a bad day in the hospital. The next month was spent at the Sacred Heart Facility in Sydney where the incredible team of Physios got me hopping, walking and running out of there in no time."
"I spent 1 month at home getting some practice time with my interim prosthesis. One thing I did do a lot of is walk, and use my prosthesis, even with my crutches, and I feel like that was mainly the reason for why I was capable of gaining independent mobility after such a short period."
Andrea went back to work in the kitchen as a chef on a gradutate program. His was working officially full time chef hours 7-8 months after his accident. The physical challenges of standing on his feet all day encouraged Andrea to decide on a career change. He enrolled at La Trobe University and is now in the second year of the Bachelor of Applied Science and Masters in Prosthetics and Orthotics. Andrea hopes in 2.5 years he will be a qualified prosthetist and can help people with their prosthetic needs.
After Andreas accident, his love for sport didn't fade and he ran the Sydney City to Surf in 2013 in 2hr 22min, which he is determined to beat one day and then moved to Vancouver, Canada in 2014.
"I finally got to snowboard as an amputee and was thrilled it didn’t feel TOO different. Living in North Vancouver, there were so many forest hiking trails right around the corner. You could just lose yourself. I absolutely love Canada, which is where the ice hockey seed was planted. Unless it’s the off season, anywhere you go in Canada, there is ice hockey on TV. It’s a great sport to watch; quick and always moving. GO JETS GO!!!"
When Andrea returned to live in Melbourne he found out there was an Australian para ice hockey team. Ice Sports Victoria had a Come and Try day, and he was hooked from the get go. The sport is still in it’s early stages but Andrea hopes interest spreads about the sport and helps with its growth. Para Ice Hockey is a fantastic sport that anyone can play with or without a disability and at all ages.
"I look forward to working with AAA in their Ambassador program, and hopefully I will see you on the ice."