Ethienne Reynecke is a retired former pro-rugby player with a career spanning more than a decade across South Africa and Europe. After retiring from professional rugby, he transitioned to a corporate career, becoming a prominent commentator on the foremost sports channel in South Africa.
On 9 August 2018, Ethienne’s life changed forever when he suffered an ischemic stroke. Ethienne fortunately woke after 5 days in a coma but was left with a condition known as Aphasia, which caused a permanent impairment to his speech and language. Aphasia affects the production and comprehension of speech as well as the ability to read and write.
Ethienne was gifted back his life but this new condition took his very livelihood from him and he was left with a life he didn’t recognize. Determined, he started piecing his life back together, beginning with the basics- focusing on his health and learning to speak, read and write all over again.
Fast forward 18 months, Ethienne decided to prove, like in sport as in life, adversities can be overcome. He was determined to conquer the challenges life had thrown at him and still come out on top. In March 2020 he became the South Africa IMMAF light-heavyweight champion.
Ethienne now has the opportunity to represent his country in the IMMAF world championships in Kazakhstan and film his journey. This documentary is not principally a sporting achievement documentary but rather a story of someone overcoming hardship and adversity. But most importantly, this is an opportunity to shine a light and raise much-needed stroke awareness for the 15 million people who suffer from one every year.
Ethienne endeavours to give back to his rugby community through clinics for the SA rugby legends and is currently coaching Monument High School rugby.