New award honours a remarkable Australian

SpinalCure and SCIA have come together to launch the David Prast Achievement Award.


They say adversity builds strength and character, and that was certainly the case for the remarkable David Prast.

David, then a successful IT professional, was just 29 years old with a bright future ahead of him, when he had a life-changing accident at Perth’s Cottesloe Beach in 1995. After the accident, David became a C5-6 complete quadriplegic. It was the kind of devastating news that would destroy most people – but for David, it was the start of a whole new journey.

David left hospital vowing to make a difference for other Australians affected by spinal cord injury. He pioneered a global campaign to cure paralysis, and was appointed to the boards of SpinalCure and Spinal Cord Injury Australia (SCIA), putting his visionary, entrepreneurial spirit to work in the fight to find a cure.

He lobbied the Western Australian government to set aside a portion of the traffic fines they collected to fund neurological trauma research. As a result, millions of dollars have been channelled into this vital research, and other governments around the country have adopted the policy.

David was also an advocate for exercise-based therapies, travelling to the USA to learn more about how these treatments could improve people’s lives. Upon returning to Australia, David helped set up Walk On, a tailored, intensive activity-based rehabilitation program in which people with spinal cord injuries work one-on-one with qualified Exercise Physiologists and Physiotherapists to maximise their functional ability and lead a more independent life. The name was later changed to NeuroMoves.

17th May 2010 - Rob & David on campus at Sydney University to pitch "Walk On" which became Neuromoves
17th May 2010 - Rob & David on campus at Sydney University to pitch "Walk On" which became Neuromoves

David’s vision was to bring together all the sectors involved in spinal cord injury, to ensure that the latest scientific and medical developments would be made available. To honour David’s legacy, and provide opportunities for further research into spinal cord injury and treatment, SpinalCure and SCIA have come together to launch the David Prast Achievement Award.

This award celebrates therapists who have achieved outstanding outcomes, and supports NeuroMoves clinicians to further their training and improve the outcomes for their clients with SCI. Offering up to $15,000 per year, the David Prast Achievement Award will expand important work, build clinical skills, and link clinicians with pivotal research.

It’s an amazing story, and one that’s close to our hearts at GPNow, because our CEO Rob Hicken was a colleague and close friend of David’s.

Source SpinalCure Australia

“It’s wonderful that, ten years after David’s passing, we’re honouring him with this wonderful award. Hopefully it will inspire others to continue the amazing work that he and other champions for the quest to cure paralysis started way back in the early 90’s”

– Rob Hicken, GPNow CEO

We’re so excited about this wonderful award, and would like to wish all the applicants for 2022 the best of luck.

“We wish the future recipients of this stunning initiative every success in furthering their roles as therapists, or imparting their skills and educating others”

– The GPNow Team