David from Chesterfield wasn’t particularly active or sporty before injury but having attended the 2023 Inter Spinal Unit Games with the team from Sheffield he now has lots of sports on his radar and is looking forward to continuing his sporting journey when he returns home.

After elective surgery David life changed overnight. He continues, “Before I was fully able, and when I came around after the surgery, I was paralysed from the chest down. I remember the feeling when I first woke up and I was absolutely terrified.”

Following injury David was transferred to the Sheffield Spinal Unit to continue his rehabilitation where he met with WheelPower physical activity advisor Andy. “Andy was a fantastic and lovely, lovely guy and very helpful. He went above and beyond. I remember asking him about cars and adaptions and he just invited me to come outside and have a look at his car. From the 5th of April until now, is because I’ve met so many wonderful people and I feel grateful for their support and kindness.”

Andy had only been discharged from hospital for 3 weeks when he took part in the Inter Spinal Unit Games and it was something he was really excited to try. Before injury he enjoyed cycling, swimming but it was diving which he loved most. “Scuba diving was the big one for me and I dived in places like Egypt and Malta and have seen some fantastic sites and wrecks. I just enjoy being under the water and if I can see things down there then even better. I ended up being a diving instructor because I just wanted to share that happiness with other people, which I did. I was actually supposed to be going to Egypt next week unfortunately I won’t be doing that now.”

Before coming to the Games David told us that he had been feeling a bit nervous. He continues, “I was absolutely panic-stricken about coming before I arrived. I’ve only been home for a few weeks so it’s the first time I’ve been away without my wife. But we’ve got a great support team and it’s been great fun.”

During the course of the week David had the opportunity to try 20 different wheelchair sports and he told us that he’d done most of them! “I’ve done the archery, boccia, badminton, shooting and table tennis where our team got first, third, and fourth. I’ve not done the basketball because I’m tetra and I haven’t got the power to throw the ball and I’ve also not had the opportunity to try the rugby yet. The coaches and volunteers have been great and I’ve seen so many people wanting to help and the smiles on people’s faces. It’s been fantastic to try new things and to meet new people.”

Reflecting on his time at the Games David says he hopes to continue some of the sports he has been introduced this week, such as shooting and by building his strength hoping even more opportunities will open up for him to play sport and be active.


“I’m taking away confidence yes and fond memories. It’s been a laugh and we've got a great crew with a good team dynamic. Since my injury and having met so many wonderful people along the way I now want to give back myself. So going forward, that's the plan and I want to volunteer. I’ve seen and spoken to so many people on the unit, and there's just so much that can't be taught. You have to learn for yourself and if you can pass that knowledge on to other people then great. I know from my experience that it's absolutely helped me no end. I'm in the early days and the limited knowledge and experience is all I've got to give. But to new people coming through I hope it could help them.”