Given TTT’s experience of having suffered a bad neck injury, it comes as wonderful news that a severely injured teenager has received a timely boost to his new rugby ambitions.
The injury suffered by Blackburn RUFC teenager George Claxton in February 2012 drastically changed his life forever but he has not lost his appetite for the game.
George broke his neck 20 months ago while tackling an opponent and has been adapting to the demands of being in a wheelchair with remarkable good humor. But while so many aspects of his life have changed radically, including the home where he lives with his father Andrew being adapted, he has return to the disciplines of school life and exams are back on the agenda.
George has already shown that his passion for the game is undiminished by setting himself new rugby goals and thanks to the help of the Rosslyn Park’s Injury Trust Fund, one of those ambitions is about to move an important a step closer.
George is aiming to represent Great Britain at wheelchair rugby in the Paralympics and thanks to the Trust Fund, who have bought him a £6,000 custom-built wheelchair, that objective of participating in this fiercely competitive version of the game is closer to being realised.
“The first time I took part in a wheelchair rugby practice was one of the most exciting weekends I’ve had in a long time,” he recalls. “I went to Southport where Westcoast Crash practice and they all made me feel really welcome.
“It felt great getting into a rugby wheelchair for the first time and I had so much fun, although it was extremely exhausting. I absolutely loved it and couldn’t wait for my second session.”
That enthusiasm burned just as brightly ahead of his first competitive game, which capped a very special weekend.
“It was the most exciting couple of days ever when me and my dad were invited by the RFU Injured Players Foundation to the Warner Brothers Studios, where the Harry Potter films were made.” said George. “Prince William, Princess Kate, Prince Harry and J.K.Rowling were all there to look around and have a meeting about the charities that were there.
“It was an honour to be able to meet Prince William and Princess Kate and to talk to them for a while.”
The excitement then spilled over into the following day at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, when George took part in his first wheelchair rugby game.
“I scored my first ever goal in my first ever game,” he said. “I was quite nervous because I had not played in a real match before and was wondering what would happen if I made a mess of things. Luckily that didn’t happen and my confidence is now boosted because of my team mates and their support to drive on to score a load more goals.
“Now I’m looking forward to playing again and thanks to the kindness of the Rosslyn Park Injury Trust Fund, having my own special chair to play in will be a great help, so I’m very keen to get back into action.”
The formal handover of the new equipment will take place on 2nd November, 2013 ahead of the game between Rosslyn Park and Fylde at Ansdell, an event which will ensure that George has the best tools with which to pursue his new rugby ambition.