Ted is 7 years old and from Devizes in Wiltshire where he lives with his family. He has cerebral palsy and absolutely loves sport. ...
In September 2023 Brooke travelled from Northern Ireland to compete in the Inter Spinal Unit Games alongside her teammates from the Musgrave Park Hospital in Belfast. Aged just 17 Brooke was one of the youngest participants but that didn’t stop her getting involved in every sport and making the very best of this fantastic opportunity.
The previous year Brooke had been involved in an accident that caused multiple injuries to her spine. She continues, “So back to April 2022 I was in a road accident that broke my C4 and C5, but I’ve since made recovery on C6. Following the accident I was in the Royal in Belfast for three months and then I moved to Musgrave for another three months to continue my rehab.”
“Fitness and exercise was really important to me during this time and I just wanted to get stronger, so I can get home quicker. And, being in the unit was also a bit of a craic too, especially when the sports came in on a Thursday. It was bit competitive and I love being competitive!”
Given her love of sport Brooke was really excited to take part in the Games and thrilled to be invited to join the Musgrave Park team as they travelled to Stoke Mandeville via plane, and bus! “It was my first time flying since my accident so you get your eyes opened a bit but the trip over was good enough and the staff in the airports were amazing. There’s seven of us in the Belfast team this year. Some of them were in hospital together but because I was their last year I didn’t know any of them but we’ve all clicked so much and have been sharing our stories.”
Arriving at Stoke Mandeville Brooke was ready to enjoy her experience and give everything a go. She continues, “Before coming here I did the swimming and boccia but since I’ve been here I’ve done the swimming, shooting, archery and table tennis and so much more! The swimming has been the best so far and I kind of enjoyed the table tennis too.”
During the week Brooke had the opportunity to try 20 different wheelchair sports from archery, to curling, to handcycling and shooting. Supported throughout by the coaches she developed her technique and even competed in Table tennis.
Reflecting on her week of sport at Stoke Mandeville she said, “It’s been really good to get out there and try stuff and because being from Northern Ireland there’s not loads of stuff around us. I feel so proud to have been part of the Belfast team, and we came 3rd overall out of the 11 spinal units which was amazing.”
“To meet so many different people, and have a go at all these different sports gives you so much confidence. When you are looking around and you’re not the only person in the wheelchair gives you comfort, so it does.”
Brooke is currently still at school and rightfully wants to focus her time on that but is very much looking forward to finding some sports teams nearer to home. We have no doubt Brooke will find some local clubs nearby and wish her every success in the future.
“It’s been the craziest, most memorable, amazing week and I just want to thank everyone involved in making it possible. If you get the opportunity to take part in the Spinal Games then you need to put yourself out there and say yes! You will regret if you don't come because I was so iffy about coming being the youngest of my group but honestly you will love it. I have made friendships that will last a lifetime and have created memories that will be forever in my heart.”