Physical Activity Advisor – Stoke Mandeville
Bob has had a long and successful career in wheelchair Rugby, spanning three decades. Bob broke his neck diving into a swimming pool on his 28th birthday. Like many others, Bob spent months in rehabilitation. Within a year of being injured Bob was introduced to wheelchair sport at the Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Games where he witnessed people, with similar disabilities, competing in a variety of different sports. Bob tried shooting, tennis, table tennis, wheelchair racing and field events.
He recalls that he heard a lot of shouting and crashing from the sports hall and was amazed at what he saw. “There were these guy’s in Wheelchairs most who were paralysed from the chest down like myself, bashing into each other and fighting for a ball”. This was Wheelchair Rugby, a team sport full of high energy, contact and camaraderie that excited and inspired him. The event he was witnessing was the National Championships, but at half time, during one game Bob was invited to get in a chair and have a go – he was hooked.
Since then Bob has done much for the sport and has held positions including GB Chairman, Vice Chairman, European President, International player representative and a National Development Coach. He was also co-founder of the London Wheelchair Rugby Club, probably the biggest and best club team in Europe. In 30 years as a player he has achieved many honors for club and country, including a hatful of National Championships medals and European Trophy’s. He is a double Paralympian, competing in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 and captained the GB Team for three years.
Bob is now Player/Coach for Stoke Mandeville Maulers, a new team that not only strives to become a great wheelchair Rugby team, but also aims to encourage disabled people into sport and lead an active and healthy lifestyle. He also continues his role as a GBWR Official and holds a Certified qualification in Fitness Instructing.
Bob’s position within WheelPower is one of the two Physical Activity Advisors working along side the Physiotherapy Rehab’ team at the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Here, each can advise newly spinal cord injured individuals on a varied range of life and fitness skills. Bob teaches wheelchair skills, offers advice on keeping fit and provides an introduction to disability sport. His role also advocates the physical and psychological health, and social benefits of leading an active and healthy lifestyle.