Classification: 1.0 player - Quadriplegic Spinal cord injury due to a road traffic accident in 1981 (burst fracture C5/6)
Why I coach wheelchair rugby?
After retiring from international duty in 2005 I have focused on inspirational speaking and mentoring programs with many other elite athletes.
I found all these projects rewarding but I missed the camaraderie and adrenalin rush that I had with the rugby, It's always difficult to make the transition from player to coach but having this time-out rekindled my passion for the game, so when asked to Coach the Leicester Tigers WRC I jumped at the chance.
The team are a good mix of experienced Paralympic athletes and young enthusiastic players waiting to put their stamp on the game, I have a wealth of experience and it's great to watch them soak it up and take it on court, when a game plan comes together its every bit as rewarding for a coach as it was when playing.
We have a great future at home and into Europe and it's an honour to be part of a young and hungry squad.
Background/ other interests outside of sport:
I have always been a keen rugby player; representing my school throughout my youth as a tight-head prop, after leaving school I followed a family tradition by gaining employment as a coal miner.
In February 1981 my life changed when I sustained a spinal cord injury, breaking my neck in a road traffic accident. After 9 months in a spinal unit learning to adapt to life in a wheelchair I was desperate to fill a void in my life, I tried various sports but nothing really grabbed my attention.
1989 a new game was developed in Canada for cervical injuries called Murderball (later to be changed to Wheelchair Rugby) a team came over from Canada and put on a demonstration of the sport at the Ludwig Guttmann Stadium, Stoke Manderville, I was there and I was hooked, a hard-hitting team sport consisting of rugby, basketball and ice hockey rules which exceeded all my expectations, this was the turning point in my life.
In 1990 a Great Britain Team was established and I went on to represent Great Britain in every major event, including 3 Paralympic Games, 3 World games and 3 European Championships culminating in the captaincy in Athens 2004.
I now enjoy a more sedate life as the head coach; I still enjoy training but also enjoy my leisure time with family, travelling, driving my sports car and enjoying a beer or glass of red whenever the mood takes.
Favourite Sporting Moment:
Beating the Canadian National Team in extra team in the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games
Proudest Sporting Moments:
• Paralympic Team: Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, and Athens 2004 (captain)
• World Games Team: Switzerland 1994, Canada 1998, and Sweden 2002
• European Championships: Sweden 1995 Gold Medallists, Holland 1997 Bronze Medallist, Belgium 2003 Gold Medallist, and Great Britain Captain
• Best in Class Player Award: 1991 Dallas, 1893 Toronto, 1995 Sweden, 1996 Leeds, 1997 Holland, 2003 Hazelmere
• National Cup Winners – 5 Times, League Cup Winners – 3 times Bern-Best International Cologne – 2 Gold and Silver
• Low Point Tournaments: Montreal 2002 European Giants, Gold Medallist, Munich 2003 European Giants Gold Medallist
• Greatest Personal Moments: Leading the GB Team out as their Captain in the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games
• BBC Team of the Year 2000
• Great Britain Captain of Team of the Year 2003
• Great Britain Coaching Staff Gold Medalists European Championships 2017