St Helens is home to a wonderful wheelchair basketball team, The Vikings. Something very special goes on there….
This is Vicki’s story.
In March 2017 I sustained a life changing injury whilst weight training in my local gym which left me paralysed from the waist down. My life was literally turned upside down, I’m a 32 year old mum to 2 young boys and, at the time, a firefighter.
After spending 3 months in Southport Spinal Unit I was discharged and left to try and piece my life back together again. Prior to the accident I had trained in the gym 5 days a week, did on average 10 classes a week and was obviously very physically active in my job role.
I remember desperately wanting to get back into the gym but no sooner had I started than I realised everything was different now; I knew the sessions would have to be adapted but I suppose I wasn’t mentally prepared for how that would effect me. I began looking for something completely different and that’s when I came across The Vikings.
I contacted Sue (Vikings head coach) prior to my first session and told her a little bit about myself and asked whether it would be suitable, I also wanted a sport that my able bodied partner could do with me as prior to the accident we trained together daily.
My first session was the end of September and I was so nervous I nearly didn’t go, I’m so glad I did! I was made to feel extremely welcome, everyone was friendly and I thoroughly enjoyed myself!!
Since then my partner has joined too and we both look forward to our Thursday evening training together and as part of the team. There’s a wide range of abilities, and age, and I genuinely cannot put into words how happy I feel for those 2 hours. For 2 hours a week I feel at ease, I’m happy, I laugh like I used to and I don’t feel like an outsider.
I’ve never played basketball before, in or out of a chair, but week by week my skills are improving and I am getting more confident. I played my first friendly match a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it.
I cannot thank the coaches and the team at The Vikings enough for everything they’ve done for me,
Photos by Andrew Fairclough Photography