Written by Lauren Campbell.
“Doctors have said with the help from this physiotherapy it is not impossible that Sophie will walk again”.
Meet Sophie Butler. An otherwise typical normal twenty-three-year-old woman who enjoys everything from doing her glam makeup, binge watching TV shows, going out and socialising with friends as well as curling up in bed with a cup of tea and a face mask on. She is widely known online as an ambassador for Gym Shark, one of the worlds largest global sportswear brands, with 57.5 million followers on Instagram. She also happens to be Gym Shark’s first ever sponsored wheelchair user, so she’s kind of a big deal.
Sophie Butler was just twenty-one when her spinal injury incident happened in 2017. She was fresh out of university and had finally received her results, ecstatic at the 2:1 she’d gained. She had planned a night of celebrating with her father but, being the fitness fanatic she was, she wanted to squeeze a quick gym session in beforehand. It was during this session that a plate of 150lb of weight from a squatting machine fell on top of her whilst on her final set. She lay on the gym floor, unable to move with the weight from the plate crushing her. It had fractured her spine. From there she was rushed to hospital to undergo eight hours of emergency spinal repair surgery, afterwards spending six weeks solid in a hospital bed, unable to sit up on her own.
It was during this time that her boyfriend broke up with her, unable to maintain a long distance relationship.
A few weeks ago Sophie began recording videos on her Instagram TV channel, highlighting different challenges that her disability and injury have taught her to deal with in an attempt to inspire and encourage others who are facing difficulties in their lives. It was during this video that Sophie spoke out, for the first time, about the heartbreak she suffered whilst in the hospital following her breakup with her ex. In this devastatingly raw and honest account of actions she disclosed that she “felt like a shell of a human being, hanging on by a tiny thread”, unable to process what was “almost too much for one human to deal with”.
Amazingly, although she was still grieving from the accident, from the breakup and she unable to comprehend the changes happening in her life, she became determined to make it to her Graduation, which was scheduled three weeks later. Sophie managed to regain some strength through intense physiotherapy sessions in the hospital and she made it to her graduation with her Father by her side on stage, to celebrate with her friends and her loved ones.
This fear to return was unimaginable, this was once a sport and pleasure that she had enjoyed for years. During the first week of hospital post-spinal injury, Sophie was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and on-setting depression. But it was this passion that fuelled her motivation to go back to the gym, “It had been such a big part of my life before”. However, the journey back was a struggle, every noise or slam in that environment triggered her PTSD and physiotherapy was difficult, both physically and mentally demanding.
From day one in therapy she worked on her core strength, driving to regain a fraction of her former-self. She pushed and pushed, first to reclaim the ability to sit up in bed and then to boxing and planking in her physiotherapy sessions. Now day’s she has spoken up about how she has regained confidence in her image again, thanks to the gym which has allowed her to fall back in love with fashion and her own skin, understanding that aesthetic isn’t everything but it is something she can pride herself on as it showcases a physical representation of how far she has come in her journey over the last two years. In turn, this has strengthened her mental fitness too. Sophie is now sponsored by Gym Shark and she continues to work out every week as well as hang out with some of the biggest names in the fitness influencer industry such as Lucy Davis. On top of that she has managed to nab Cosmopolitan’s Health and Wellbeing Influencer of the Year this year.
Sophie continues to inspire many men and women across the country, including all of us here at Spoiled Nation. The struggle will be tough but the reward so worth it, Doctors have told Sophie that there is still hope for her to walk again. We wish her all the luck in the world for her continued growth and strength in the future.