Paul Guest, originally from Rochford, was a mine warfare specialist in the British Navy until he was injured on active duty suffering horrific injuries to his neck and spine. This has left Paul wheelchair bound, with partial deafness and a visual impairment. However what has affected him most is the post-traumatic stress disorder which has accompanied this:
“I found myself in such a dark and lonely place with my post-traumatic stress disorder that I tried taking my own life a number of times”
With the assistance of help for heroes and his wife, Paul became more active, participating in a variety of disability adapted activities.
“I turned to wheelchair racing and basketball. I currently play wheelchair basketball for the Essex Outlaws club. I also hand cycle, swim and weight train, It has changed my focus and given me something to aim for each day”
Paul has developed considerably through the activity he has chosen. This culminated in being selected for the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada, winning a bronze medal as part of the GB Wheelchair Basketball team! However this doesn’t make it as his favourite sporting moment…
“My all-time favourite moment was when I was joined by my son Oliver on court in his very first match. We made a play called a ‘pick and roll’ and he scored his very first basket!”
Paul had some advice for people in Essex looking to become more physically active.
“No matter how small the start, getting active will benefit you in so many ways – health, self-confidence, mental awareness – the list goes on. If you have ever fancied trying a sport – now is the time. Just try it – you will be amazed how it takes a hold and the enjoyment you will get from it”
Paul’s story is an inspiring one of how starting slowly and taking small steps can begin a journey that has led him to represent Great Britain. We thank Paul for sharing his story and we wish him luck for the 2018 Invictus Games and the London Marathon, we look forward to hearing how training is going!
We are also delighted to have Paul on board as an All Together ambassador, helping disabled people across Essex get more active, for more information click here. Paul now coaches wheelchair basketball sessions at the Brentwood Leisure Centre.