Limbless Association: Wheelchair Rugby and Disability Cricket Experience Day
Solicitors from Bolt Burdon Kemp collaborated with the Limbless Association, to host a Wheelchair Rugby and Disability Cricket experience day at the Brentwood Centre.
The event was aimed at those affected by amputation to try each of the sports, to get to know each other and share experiences, and was particularly valuable to those who had undergone amputations during the pandemic, when these types of opportunities were scarce. The event was a hit and attracted people from all over – even as far as Wales!
Wheelchair Rugby Experience and Essex County Cricket Club both guided the sessions, giving us a whistle stop tour of the basics, the rules and oversaw a few games.
The day started with the groups being split equally between each sport. I was in the group assigned to play Wheelchair Rugby first. Going into the day, I had heard of the sport’s reputation and was aware of it being referred to in some circles as “Murderball”.
For those of us new to the sport, we nervously approached the wheelchairs lined up on the side – these chairs carried many a war wound and did little to dispel the myths surrounding the sport!
After an explanation of the rules and basics of the game, we launched straight into a match. For those of us with little experience in a wheelchair, it was a steep learning curve, getting to know both a new sport and manoeuvring a wheelchair. However, after 20 minutes or so everyone was getting into the swing of it and what started as polite nudges quickly turned into competitive crashes. It was clear that Wheelchair Rugby won many hearts that morning and several attendees were asking the professionals about joining local clubs.
In the afternoon, we got to turn our hands to trialling Disability Cricket. This is a relatively new sport that is still in development. Essex County Cricket have been developing a format that is inclusive for all. Excitingly, this allowed us to be guinea pigs for a few trial sessions and to try out some new potential rule tweaks. The game includes the essential elements of the traditional game, with a few fun quirks to make it more inclusive – this included a “multi-ball” element, and even bonuses for hitting the ball to the back wall, as one can imagine brought out the “competitive” side in many. It was great to be able to be a part of the early days of a new sport, and see how other “traditional” sports can be adapted to be inclusive for all.
The day really illustrated the power and joy that only sport provides, a bunch of (largely) strangers quickly came together to try something new, and have some fun.
It was a truly enjoyable day out which BBK was proud to have been a small part of. News of the event’s success must have spread quickly as even the local MP, Alex Burghartand Brentwood Mayor, Olivia Sanders, dropped by to make an appearance and grab a photo-op!
Recently, I was enjoying the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup final from the sofa (c’mon England!), and the thought struck me that maybe a future world cup winner or Paralympian may have been in that sports hall trying a sport for the first time; only time will tell!
The Limbless Association is a national charity who we have worked closely with in recent years. They support and empower amputees, enabling them to lead independent and fulfilled lives beyond limb loss. Established in 1983, they offer practical and emotional guidance for individuals, both before and after amputation. They hold a firm belief that no amputee need cope alone.
Limbless Association provides their services through a helpline, visitor peer mentoring, support hubs to connect fellow amputees, access to legal advice, resources packs and virtual contact. All of these provisions have been vital in helping amputees regain their independence.
Bolt Burdon Kemp is part of the Limbless Association’s legal panel, supporting the Eastern and the South West regions of England. We have been especially selected by the charity for our specialism in amputation claims, enabling us to offer reliable legal advice to their members. In return, the charity is a great source of support, and information for our amputee clients and their families.