“Anyone can play sport,” disability sports coach Paul – Londoner #234

“Anyone can play sport,” disability sports coach Paul – Londoner #234

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It’s an international language, anyone can play sport. It’s not a talking language, it’s a showing language for me. You can teach people just by showing them. I always got injured playing football. I used to play for a Saturday afternoon team, I just took a qualification and started to do sports coaching in football and it just fitted. I just loved it. My dad was Welsh and their national sport’s obviously rugby. So he loved the rugby game, never so much the football. My older brother went through, played quite a good status of rugby. I didn’t really favour rugby, I like the round ball rather than the eggchasers. My son lost his sight. Fourteen years ago now, he was in primary school. The teacher I know ’cause I work in the primary school said to me: Liam’s writing’s off the line. So I said: ok, we’ll take him to the optician. And then he went back to school, got a phone call in the afternoon and they said: there might be something wrong, could you take him to Moorfields? We sat up in Moorfields, we was there about 20 minutes and we went from there to Great Ormond Street and he spent 10 days in Great Ormond Street and lost his sight within them 10 days. It was like a blind coming down. It just gradually came down and he lost his sight completely. Big challenge to be honest. Yeah. Changed everyone’s life. He was just getting on with it, but it changed everyone’s life within the family and within the grandparents and the aunts and uncles. Everyone’s life changed. But we just looked at him, he got on with it, so we just get on with it. Yeah. (filmmaker Daniel) Can you tell me what that is? (Paul) Yeah, it’s a blind cup competition where Liam’s team finished second got runners-up in it and that was the medal they got. Yeah, very proud, come away with a runners-up medal, it’s literally like the FA Cup of the blind sports, yeah. Liam got invited to a disability photo shoot at Highbury. They all had a slot. His team was going in and he was with me and I was talking to someone and we missed the slot. So I had to go and bang on the door and asked if he could have a photo done. And Thierry Henri, as you can see in the photo, pulled him in, picked him up, sat him on his lap. He had an individual photo when he should have been in the group. So it changed my life, I went from being a mainstream coach diverting off into a disability session. With any disability if you can adapt the sport that you’re doing, they can play. It keeps you upbeat. They come there and they enjoy it and they feel happy. So I’m happy with it, so.

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