James is country footballer and physiotherapy student who sustained a serious spinal cord injury during a routine collision with an opponent. He is the inspiration behind The Big Day Off.
To learn more about James, check out the video below.
Popular among his mates and well-regarded by his teachers, James was given the nickname “Quill” during his time at school, and it’s stuck ever since – now he only gets called James when he’s in trouble! He enjoyed subjects that reflected his main interests: working with his hands, his passion for sport, and his desire to become a physiotherapist.
James accepted an early entry offer to study Physiotherapy at Charles Sturt University in Albury-Wodonga starting in 2012, moving with his girlfriend Kathryn.
From an early age James was a sporting fanatic, barracking for his beloved Essendon Bombers, and having a keen interest in AFL, cricket and athletics.
Throughout his junior football career James excelled, impressing the coaches at local club Echuca Murray Bombers with his skill, work ethic and dedication to his teammates. After moving to Albury for his studies, James played football at the Albury Tigers Football Club, where he became a valued and hard-working player – prompting comments from his coaches like ‘every football club in Australia would love to have a James McQuillan.’
His ‘support crew’ of parents (Jack and Jo) and grandparents (Frank and Elaine) soon became a fixture at Albury games. He tasted premiership success with the Albury Tigers reserves in 2013.
He was also a talented cricketer, playing for the Echuca Cricket Club at junior and senior level. He was a demon fast bowler, leaving nasty bruises on clubmates and opponents alike – none more so than on his older brother Tom – but was always the first to ask the injured batsman if he was okay. He made his first century for Echuca in late 2012, and played in his first club premiership in early 2013. In addition to this, he was an accomplished runner, running cross-country at state level during primary school.
His talent for being crafty and creative is recognised by anyone who has ever received a hand-made birthday present or card from him, or heard him play a bit of Jack Johnson on guitar. The large hardwood table he made for his mum as a 50th birthday present stands as the best testament to his skill with his hands, alongside the spice racks, tables, cupboards and other furniture he’s knocked up over the years.
‘Quill’ is known and loved for his vivacious and cheeky personality, always able to extract a laugh with a quick wink of an eye or a poke of his tongue. What distinguishes him, however, is the considerate, politeness and genuine nature that this humour appears alongside.
We hope this has given you an insight into the life and personality of our son, brother, teammate and friend James McQuillan. Though his spinal cord injury is serious, James’ inner strength and determination will serve him well in the road ahead. His support crew, led by Kathryn, his family and friends will be there to help him.