32nd Inter Spinal Unit Games attracts 136 newly paralysed sports participants from across the country in April 2019
WheelPower, the national charity for wheelchair sport, recently welcomed 136 newly paralysed men and women representing 15 spinal injury units from across the United Kingdom and Ireland to the 32nd Inter Spinal Unit Games at Stoke Mandeville Stadium from 9-11 April 2019.
Some had never played sports before, and each person had a different story to share as to how they became paralysed, yet all were willing to give the 26 different sports and physical activity sessions a try, before entering competition sports between the Spinal Unit teams. The flagship event finally culminated in a gala dinner and awards ceremony for all the participants, sports leaders and supporters of the event to celebrate the achievements and effort of all the participants and winners.
The participants received expert coaching and demonstrations from leading wheelchair sports athletes and experienced coaches. ‘Have-a-Go’ sporting activities included: wheelchair basketball, athletics, wheelchair badminton, wheelchair fencing, handigolf, archery, boccia, wheelchair rugby, shooting, cue sports, powerlifting and for the first time adapted and wheelchair yoga.
Chris Keogh, the amateur footballer who became paralysed after dislocating his neck playing the sport he loves, took part in the Games.
“It’s been going very well, it has been great to try out all the different sports, it’s been absolutely fantastic. Since I had my injury I haven’t really been involved in too much and this has been a great week to try out everything that I didn’t even think was possible to do in a wheelchair, including wheelchair fencing, which I didn’t even know existed 12 months ago! It’s been absolutely great to be in an environment where people are in a very similar situation to me where they’ve just been under a year injured, it’s been fantastic and I have made lots of new friends, so I’ve really enjoyed it”, comments Chris.
Chris was scheduled to begin a new job at Price Waterhouse Cooper just after his accident.