Johnny Sligo may be one of the few people who kept their New Year's resolution, and it is no small feat.

The 33-year-old student, also known as Johnny Blaze, aimed to learn to walk again with a prosthetic leg after his left leg was amputated above the knee because of a blood clot in September 2017.

This year, the sports enthusiast kept busy as he recovered from the operation, caught up with his studies and helped coach a wheelchair rugby team.

"Now I'm unwinding and relaxing, and learning how to walk in a prosthetic," Sligo said, casually.


Sligo is not stopping there, either. His next big goal is working with Paralympians.

While walking is something most people take for granted, mastering it using a prosthetic has required a completely different style of walking and thinking.

"You transfer your weight through your glute, not the end of your leg," Sligo said.

"That's the difficult thing - having to switch your brain on and always being conscious of what you're doing with that leg, as your body just wants to do it the old way."

Sligo has modest ambitions for the year ahead. He is focused on living a balanced lifestyle, which means putting in the hard yards when needed but also taking time to relax.

He is doing the last year of his Bachelor of Sport and Recreation at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, which includes a 350-hour work placement with Parafed.

A trip overseas is on the cards sometime next year; Sligo feels the pull of Europe and South America.

Getting back into playing wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby is also on the agenda.

Previously a player on the Parafed Bay of Plenty Steamrollers Wheelchair Rugby team, Sligo has continued to be involved as assistant coach and has travelled to Christchurch, Palmerston North, Auckland and Te Awamutu for competitions.

Coaching has helped him develop a better understanding of the whole game, not just the position he played, and leading a sports team made up of a range of personalities has developed his interpersonal skills.

After university, Sligo aim to work with disabled athletes, with the eventual goal of training a Paralympian in any kind of sport.

He also plan to pursue sports performance analysis, which involves watching games, scouting other teams, and providing coaches with statistics to use in formulating game plans.