Thomas Broyd joined us at the Inter Spinal Unit Games 2019 and comes from a cycling background, Thomas would have taken any opportunity to get out there on his bike and was always a keen cyclist, even as a kid, ‘All the dangerous stuff, broken bones and all that!’ Thomas jokes.
He got into mechanics and eventually ended up in coaching. He says he was lucky enough to undergo British cycling coaching on an award scheme, and worked in schools with young kids teaching them basic bike handling, bike checks, safety, and how to look after their bikes in general. He’s also worked with adults in more rural places on more advanced elements of biking. He admits that it was really nice to see the full spectrum.
Talking about the incident that happened, Thomas explains that it happened completely out of the blue.
‘It happened all of a sudden on a Thursday night, I headed to bed, thinking about the million and one things that I needed to get on with in the morning. To my surprise, I woke up a week later in hospital, completely paralysed! It turned out I’d slept walked straight out of the fourth storey window of my block of flats, and plummeted 52ft onto a solid concrete floor,’ explains Thomas.
‘I’ve lost count of all the vertebrae I’ve broken, I think it was about seventeen various parts of me in total’.
For the best part of two years of Thomas has been in rehabilitation, but says to come to the ISUG 2019 event has just been incredible.
‘It’s just amazing that events like this are put on for us because you just don’t get anything like this anywhere else in the world, it’s just incredible’, expresses Thomas.
‘It’s just been a huge eye-opener, it’s really nice to meet people of varying disabilities, every single person is so welcoming, friendly, smiling, I’ve never met so many people of a similar background from across the nation and beyond all in one place at one time, with the same upbeat spirit and positive outlook, it’s just fantastic, I am so grateful to be here, it’s almost like a holiday!’, comment Thomas.
From a mental health point of view, Thomas is keen to cover the idea that each and every person who attends an event like this shares the similar limiting emotions, such as fear, embarrassment, everyone here is in the same boat. An event like ISUG allows these emotions to escape out into the open without fear of being judged or ridiculed. Because there’s a common bond and understanding between everyone here, including the staff, everyone can all laugh and cry in equal measures!
‘My local gym didn’t have any adaptions for me to get back into sport, so coming here is like a release, and although I’ve done daft things like fallen out of my chair trying new sports at ISUG, and lost a tennis match 5-0, everyone here’s just so encouraging and we all just laugh it off’, says Thomas.
Thomas, like many others here at the Games has gone through an incredibly life-changing experience. However, at ISUG 2019, he feels that he’s been given a new sense of purpose and a positive focus on the future.
‘I really want to get stuck into more of wheelchair rugby, going forward. Also, depending on how I do in the shooting competition, I’d like to carry on with target shooting’.
‘It’s blown my mind about how amazing everyone is here, so if I could be part of that team I would jump at the offer in an instant! I’d love to volunteer for WheelPower and be part of a national Charity that I know will be benefiting mine and everyone else’s future’, adds Thomas.