After only 5 weeks at the Spinal Unit Roxy, 55 from Dorset was given the opportunity to take part in the 2023 Inter Spinal Unit Games with the reigning champions, Salisbury. Although sport wasn’t something she did much of before injury she was really looking forward to trying everything and finding new hobbies for when she is discharged.

Talking about her injury she explained, “So I had a bad back, and like everybody else didn’t do a lot about it other than seeing a chiropractor. I thought it was getting a bit better, but then I had a couple of falls. One, headed to the pool bar on holiday and one headed out of Glastonbury. I noticed a bit of numbness, went to the osteopath, she took all my details and was like, you need a scan. 48 hours later I was being operated on. My spinal cord was being crushed by a disc in my back, and unfortunately the operation left me in a wheelchair, but it’s opened up so many other opportunities.”

In the past 5 weeks Roxy has been undergoing intensive physio at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Injuries Centre in Salisbury, supported by the team at the unit. Although hard Roxy enjoyed being pushed and gave her absolute all to get stronger.

“Initially physio has been the basics of just being able to sit up, get up, get in and out bed, get in and out, wheelchair etc. But recently I’ve started doing some standing, getting in and out of my car. So yeah it’s been a lot of hard work but I like that I like to be pushed and I like to be busy, so it’s not a problem for me.”

Before her injury and coming to the Spinal Games Roxy wouldn’t have described herself as a sporty person. A keen dog walker and fan of rugby were her main interests but after a day at Stoke Mandeville she realised how much opportunity there was out there.

“Yesterday I got a little bit emotional and it's just been overwhelming. People like us we end up in a wheelchair and you think, I can't go dog walking and I can't do this and I can't do that. But actually this has shown so many things that you can do. And new things that I'd never have thought of trying. Everybody keeps saying to me that every time you come away from something you're smiling. It's just been amazing”.

Of the 20+ sports on offer Roxy had experienced lots of new things, and discovered talents for sports she didn’t know she had. As well as the new she was also thrilled to be back in the pool and find out that she will now be able to play badminton with her kids again.

“To be able to swim again was fantastic and I’ve done the shooting today and I like that too. I’ve just tried the curling and I really enjoyed that. Do you know what, it’s hard to choose one! I think badminton has been my favourite because my kids play badminton and my son’s been trying to get me on the badminton court for years. So I sent him a video yesterday saying ‘See you on the court’ so I’m gonna play badminton with him now.”

We wish Roxy all the best in the future and hope her love of sport continues to grow once she returns home. She continues, “I’m definitely gonna try and find a few local clubs. Even if I don’t pick a specific sport, just to be able to go from here and think nothing is impossible, I think that’s what I’m gonna leave with.”

“This is not gonna stop me from trying new things. I was saying earlier, in our normal lives before this happened to try anything new, it was always, I'm too busy. I've got work, I've got the kids, I've got home, the house to clean. But I have tried so many new things since I've been in the wheelchair and loved it.”

If you are in any doubt as to whether you should say ‘yes’ to the Inter Spinal Unit Games given the chance, then Roxy will tell you why …. “Its just been absolutely amazing and I would recommend it to anybody. If they get a chance to do this, they’ve got to do it because it is brilliant. Genuinely thank you so much. You have properly put smile back on my face and I’ve loved it, honestly. Thank you WheelPower.”