Every couple of weeks on the spinal unit wheelchair rugby day would come around. There are quite strict rules for patients around who can be involved and unfortunately I didn’t fit the criteria so was left frustrated on the touchline. Living in close proximity to some of the characters on the ward often had me fighting back the urge to ram them with my wheelchair, now, all of a sudden, it wasn’t just accepted it was encouraged! The sport that is so affectionatley known as ‘murder ball’ was certainly appealing but I was home before I had the chance to get involved.
Well just before Christmas the wait was over and the opportunity arose to join in with a Solent Sharks training session. I have to admit after spending 9 months in a wheelchair it was a bit strange to be rolling around. The first thing I noticed was how mobile these chairs were compared to the Sherman tanks I used to pilot around Hospital. The camber on the wheels makes them incredibly reactive and gives them a turning circle that a black cab would be proud of. Operating a wheelchair is incredibly instinctive, almost anyone can sit in one for the first time and it will make sense, operating one well however is a different story.
Watching the way the pros navigated the court with such skill was made even more impressive when you give it a go yourself. For these guys and girls the wheelchair has become merely an extension of their body, to the extent that most would have a serious job trying to out manoeuvre them on their feet.
Trust me if you ever get the chance give it a go…. I will be following it at the Paralympics with added interest now. ♿️🏉
P.s. Nice to see I still pull ridiculous faces when I play sport!