Stoke Mandeville plays host as sport appears in disability sports competition for first time
GOLF was on offer for the first time when over 220 athletes and support staff gathered for the 27th Inter Spinal Unit Games at Stoke Mandeville Stadium.
The flagship sports event enabled newly injured patients from the 13 spinal units from across the UK and Ireland to discover and compete in a range of wheelchair sports.
Jamie Blair, Disability Officer for England Golf, said “We are pleased to have added golf to the range of activities on offer as part of the spinal unit games, ensuring the game is open to all.
“I would like to express my thanks to the Handigolf Foundation and volunteers for running the activity and showcasing the opportunities to participate in golf”.
Stoke Mandeville Hospital patient, 61-year-old Paul Beere from Hemel Hempstead, took part in golf as well as various sports including fencing, hand-cycling, and nine ball pool.
Paul says sport has played a part in his rehabilitation after a growth on his spinal cord was removed and he was confined to a wheelchair. He said: “Sport brings you not only exercise, but a sense of purpose and a feeling that everything has an ending”.
The games are run by WheelPower, a national sport charity based at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, the birthplace of the Paralympic movement.
WheelPower’s Sport Development Officer, Stewart Jeeves, who organised the event said: “Throughout the week all participants have fully embraced their opportunity to have a go at sport.
“Patients with spinal cord injuries have discovered first-hand what they can achieve in terms of participating in sport and living an independent lifestyle. Many will return home full of confidence and desire to continue playing the sport they love in their local area.”