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Blog: "I love the competitiveness of rugby"

The English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) website features a blog post every Friday through the year. In 2017, we'll be sharing the experiences of disabled people, and those who support disabled people, on their journey to being more active. This week, Beth Phillips, from Northampton talks to us about discovering her competitive side at Saints wheelchair rugby group.

Saints Wheelchair Rugby group photo Beth Phillips

My name is Beth Phillips, I am 23 years old and from Northampton. I have a condition called Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia which causes weakness in my lower limbs.

I enjoy swimming and always try to do some physiotherapy at home. Before attending the Northampton Saints wheelchair rugby sessions, I'd never really exercised regularly.

I normally swim by myself, although I have in the past attended hydrotherapy sessions with a group.

I started going to the wheelchair rugby sessions in January, after a friend mentioned on Facebook that he was going. I’ve been to two sessions so far and plan on carrying on with them until they finish. They are great fun!

My job as a data analyst is very sedentary, so it’s amazing to have found something that gets me active but also that’s really social and enjoyable.

Playing wheelchair rugby has improved my upper body strength. This had big benefits, making it easier for me to be mobile when on crutches. I’m definitely gaining a healthier lifestyle.

When I take part in sports I feel energised, and I love the competitiveness of rugby. Afterwards, I feel like I have achieved something and it gives me a real self-esteem boost.

It’s really important for me to be close to my family and friends, and they are all quite active people. So it’s nice to be able to join in on the conversations relating to fitness and exercise.

I plan on attending the rest of the wheelchair rugby taster sessions and look forward to seeing where that takes me. Some of the group at the taster sessions also go to wheelchair basketball, so I will definitely be having a go at that in the near future.

To other disabled people who are thinking of being more active or taking up a new sport I would say - go for it! Find something that’s right for you and that you really enjoy. Not only will you feel good for being more healthy and active, you will meet all sorts of new people. It’s a win-win!

Find out more about wheelchair rugby, taster sessions and opportunities near you, visit Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby website.