Hi my name is Robert; I’ve always been active, and have had “outdoors jobs’ my entire career. As a young farmer, I played football and tug of war regularly, and when I met my now wife, Ellie, we would go running together (although she would often have to force me sometimes!) But I wouldn’t say that I considered sport to be an enormous part of my life. Then one day, it all changed. Whilst at work, I was involved in an accident involving some farm machinery. Long story short, that was four years ago, and I haven’t walked unaided since. As strange as it seemed, it has only been since the accident that I’ve really focused on being active and discovering my love of ice hockey and strength training.
After being told by numerous medical professionals that I’d never run or play contact sports again, I turned my focus to what I could do. Determined not to be beaten, and encouraged by Ellie, I started training at our local gym. At first I would stick to low impact cardio machines, but after watching Ellie training with her PT to become a power lifter, my interest was piqued. From there, I found myself drawn into a strength training gym. Recently, I started trialling a new brace, and with the help of my physiotherapist, I ran my first few steps for the first time in four years. Shortly after that, I began the Couch to 5k running programme, and although I haven’t managed to continue with that programme, it was an enormous step towards a more active future. I know that the brace may not be a permanent fix, but it has spurred me on to be the best I can be, I won’t let anything stop me!
Sport for me is an outlet for the stress and anxiety that I have suffered as a result of my situation, it helps me to maintain a positive mind-set, and a feeling of achievement – that I’m not useless, and I shouldn’t give up or allow my disability to beat me.
Since being part of a network of active friends, I’ve felt more confident and capable of achieving the extraordinary. If I can help others to feel valuable; to identify their own self-worth; to feel proud of themselves and want to be active, it would make my own journey feel that much more worthwhile.