Over the last few years we get to hear of more sports being played by folk with disabilities and wheelchair users. When you hear of a new wheelchair sport you get a vague picture in your mind of how it may look but when we heard of wheelchair hurling being played by teams in Northern Ireland, I had no idea what to expect !
Ryan O'Connor is one individual who hasn't allowed being a wheelchair user to prohibit from playing many sports. Starting out with wheelchair basketball Ryan soon realised that he was able to enjoy playing sport rather than just watching it. A couple of months ago he got in to hurling and now considers himself 'very active'.
Ryan has two prosthetic legs and has had a heart transplant and prefers to be in a wheelchair when playing these sports. His enjoyment and enthusiasm has lead him to helping others to participate and enjoy wheelchair sports and the social life that they bring. Ryan's involvement has allowed him to make many new friends both within the teams and off the pitch.
Ryan's praise for his coaches is endless and his spirit is strong encouraging others to make the most and get out there and enjoy whatever sport you can. Wheelchair hurling is a relatively new sport in Northern Ireland starting just 6 months ago so we will be interested to see it develop and admire all those on the pitch and making it happen.
Of the 3 clubs in existence, all the players have some form of disability, some with cerebral palsy and some forms of spina bifida and others like Ryan with missing limbs. Regardless of disability, the emphasis is very much on focusing on the ability they have to play the sport and enjoy themselves.
We wish them all luck !