After having a life changing training accident whilst trampolining last November 20 year old James underwent surgery on his spine and a further 6 months in rehabilitation. Known as the ‘nicest man in the trampolining league’ James now has his sights set on the many opportunities available to play wheelchair sports. 

 “I was a trampolinist professionally and had a trampolining accident last November. I fractured my C5, C6 vertebrae and was initially at St George’s in London but got moved to Stanmore, and then spent a further five months with them and underwent loads of physio. Since leaving hospital I have kept in contact, so when they offered me this opportunity to come down here I thought, yeah, why not?”

Coming to the Inter Spinal Games represented a new opportunity for him and something he was excited for after living a very active lifestyle prior to injury.

“Fitness and exercise were extremely important to me whilst in the unit because it’s something I've done it my whole life. When it's all taken away from you to do anything again is nice, so I was trying to keep up with my fitness and incorporate gradually increase those basic movements. Personally I got alot out of it.”

The Spinal Unit Games provided James with the chance to try over 20 sports across the Stoke Mandeville Stadium site. Alongside his fellow teammates from Stanmore they worked there way around and tried as many as they could before the competitions began later in the week.

“I’ve been having a great time and It’s been so nice here to experience different things. Initially I was a bit worried because I didn’t know what it will be like to try things in a wheelchair. But I think everything just sort of works perfectly. I’ve tried most things but shooting so far has definitely be my favourite. I tried the wheelchair rugby yesterday and that was quite nice too. And I’m about to compete in Boccia!”

James told us that he was going to work his way around for a second go on some sports as well as trying the golf and adaptive mountain bikes which he’d had his eye on all week. “I definitely want to give that a go because that is quite a lot of fun!”

After a week at Stoke Mandeville it is hoped that many of the participants will go on to join local clubs and continue their sporting journeys. As a natural sports person we have no doubt James will continue to enjoy wheelchair sport nearer to home.

“I might look into the shooting and maybe wheelchair rugby because one of the girls in the trampoline community was actually supporting the coaching here, so I might give that a go and just see where it’s takes me. I also tried the rowing and they said maybe to look into that one when I’m a bit stronger because at the moment it was still quite intense.”

Reflecting on a week of eye opening sporting opportunity James said, “I was surprised by how many things you can actually do because so far every sport has been available to me. There are other people from Stanmore who have a tetra injury with very limited function are still doing loads of the sports.”

“Before I arrived my biggest fear was thinking, ‘I won’t be good enough’ to fit in with everyone else but that’s like completely not true at all because firstly, no one’s actually focused on like how good you do necessarily, its all about giving it a go and doing your best.”

“Thank you WheelPower for giving us all this opportunity. It's been great and hopefully I'll get a chance to do it again one day. If you get a chance to come I’d say definitely give it a go!”