Story 27

Connecting disabled people to sport

Although the stigma is slowly going, there is still that thing about being disabled: ‘What can I do?’ ‘Should I play sport?’

Jordanne Whiley

But I think Leonard Cheshire is really great at making everything inclusive. I really respect that about the charity.

Leonard Cheshire measured the impact it had on disabled people it connected to sport between July 2015 and July 2016. Mental health improved in 98% of cases.

I was not surprised. 

When you’re disabled, sport gives you so much more than exercise. It’s good to keep the bones going and get the muscles going, but also you meet new people and it makes you feel better about yourself.

I was born with brittle bone disease. A tissue defect in my bones that makes them weaker.

When I was a little girl I was very insecure about my legs. I was a lot smaller than all my classmates, and I was in and out of hospital a lot.

So I was very different to everyone else.

When I started playing tennis it gave me a lot of confidence on the court, but also when I was off the court it definitely made me more confident about myself and feel better about my body.

I was very lucky when I started playing tennis because there was a club near my home where my dad had been playing for several years and they gave me free courts. As I got better, they still supported me.

I know it’s really difficult to find courts to play at, especially when you’re disabled and you don’t know where your local wheelchair group is, or if you feel you can’t play with club level players.

I guess I was lucky in that way. I really respect how Leonard Cheshire connects other disabled people to sport.

When you’re disabled, sport gives you so much more than exercise.