A shocking accident while training in the sport he loves has changed Bulli man Kyle Montgomery's life forever.
The well-known athlete was training at his martial arts gym in Woonona on March 29 when he suffered severe spinal damage. He was rushed to Wollongong Hospital then airlifted to Prince of Wales.
"Kyle's ability to train and focus as an athlete are skills that are already shining through, a tenacity the doctors seem impressed with as they tell him he is going to be on an intensive rehab program," his wife Alex told the Mercury.
"He keeps asking to go to the gym as much as possible and when he can start rehab. He is basically looking at this as a new physical challenge, like any other sport."
Kyle's brother Jay said the accident caused severe spinal damage to his C4 and C5 vertebrae.
"He spent almost two weeks in ICU before being moved to the acute spinal ward," Jay said.
Kyle runs Southern MMA, teaching self defense, kickboxing, wrestling, boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
He has competed in boxing tournaments and represented Australia in the Soviet martial art and combat sport known as Sambo.
Kyle, a keen rock climber, grew up in Bulli and is passionate about sharing his love of martial arts with students of all abilities and ages.
"Kyle is a passionate determined, person and extremely funny. He cares deeply for all the people he is closest with and when Kyle makes a friend he makes them for life, which is evident by the rallying of support over the last two weeks," Alex said.
Kyle's mate Matt Cave described him as an exceptional person who is very fit and active and loves life.
"He is a fighter and will do everything he can to rehabilitate himself to the best he can," Matt said.
"His family and friends are raising money to help Kyle and his wife during this tough time."
A fundraiser held by UFC fighter Alexander "The Great" Volkanovski at the Central Hotel on Sunday raised more than $2000.
There is a Go Fund Me page and soon a Facebook page will be set up to help Kyle into the future with the financial burden of his treatment.
"The long term goals of the fundraiser is to help get a small home for Kyle built at his family residence in Bulli and any other future equipment that may be needed," Jay said.