28year old, Jonny Mulhall sustained a complete spinal injury in January 2012 fracturing C6,C7&T1. This resulted in a quadriplegic disability but it has not stopped this determined young man from Laois! Here is what he had to say.
What activities/sport/exercise do you do?
I play wheelchair rugby for Ireland and also my local club the “Laois Lions” wheelchair rugby club. I train in the gym 3/4 times a week if I have the time. I also do a bit of handcycling or pushing in the track chair
I have tried a lot of sports Archery, Shot putt,track racing,hand cycling, table tennis and the list goes on!
How did you get active?
I was always active before my accident so the interest was always going to be there afterwards. Vanity also plays a major factor in physical exercise and gym work. I got introduced to wheelchair rugby while in the National Rehab Hospital (NRH) and continued to play after I left.
What are some good/positive experiences?
The positives would be getting fit and stronger after the accident not only from a sporting point of view but an everyday living aspect also. Being stronger means pushing around your day chair easily and for longer, transferring to and from your chair, lifting objects including your chair when getting into your car. All such activities are made easier by being stronger and fitter.
Another positive would be the social aspect, meeting new people who are in a similar circumstance as myself and the all important learning life hacks and tricks from them through their years of experience. Sharing experiences and stories and just making new friends.
If you could describe your experience in one word, what would it be?
I know it’s not one word but it’s the best description 🙂
What does being physically active mean to you? Why do you take part?
I take part as I enjoy sport and being part of a team. I enjoy the physical side of it and also the competitiveness
If you met someone who had never taken part in anything before, what would you tell them, and why would you tell them they should start?
For one the physical fitness and wellbeing is rewarding but also the social aspect is great also and essential for a balanced life.
Tell me if you encountered any challenges in participating in sport or physical activity? What makes participating in sport/physical activity difficult?
One of the main difficulties for people would be the expense of playing sport as it tends to be expensive if you need equipment to play the particular sport. For example a rugby chair can cost anything from €5000 to €9000 for a custom chair depending on brand and extras. You then have maintenance costs tyres, tubes, axels,gloves etc. You also have travel expenses and if you don’t drive well then you have a whole new issue of getting to and from training.
For some people who have not yet been involved in sport it can be quiet daunting also and they might struggle to pick up the courage to go.
To what extent are people with disabilities able to engage in physical activity and sports of their choice?
There is no limit on the extent of physical activity a person with a disability can do it’s just down to training and perseverance.
There is variation of nearly every sport for people with disabilities so there should be no problem in finding a sport you wish to take part in
What more must be done to ensure constant progress towards everybody being active?
I think it’s solely down to the person in question if they really want to do it or not. Otherwise just advertising sport for people with disabilities.
What is your wish list for sports and physical activity?
Make Paralympic level. Win the lotto so I could train full time