Kennedy Scott's marketing intern goes to the games!

Owain Greenshields Kennedy Scott’s Marketing Intern recently took part in the Inter Spinal Unit games, where he was representing The National Spinal Injury Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

On getting the invitation to attend Owain said: “I was so proud to compete on behalf of the NSPIC especially being selected into team of six, considering how many patients come through their doors. From the first taste of sport I have had since being in a wheelchair and hearing about the games, it was something of a life goal to be able to compete on behalf of them in the Spinal Games”.

The Games are held annually at Stoke Mandeville Stadium and this year was its 31st year with over 100 athletes representing 13 spinal injury units from across the United Kingdom and Ireland. The event was open to previous patients in their first year of a spinal injury and is designed to introduce the recently injured to the world of sport and the benefits of being more socially active and leading a healthy lifestyle, which is very important to patients only recently injured as it helps open their eyes to the a world where being in a wheelchair isn’t a hindrance.

Owain said, “The whole event was amazing from start to finish, and seeing people doing stuff they never thought they would do again was truly awe inspiring. It really brings it to life how special this event is. Who knows how many Olympians in the making were amongst us”.

The games feature a mix of competition and ‘have-a-go’ sessions; everybody received demonstrations and coaching from a whole raft of sports including rugby, basketball, shooting, cue sports, fencing, archery, tennis, athletics and more besides. Besides the fun of taking part and trying out new sports, there was a competition to be won and the pride of the NSPIC was at stake! Team Stoke Mandeville participated in all competition sports and they even managed to get into the semi-finals of the table tennis and finals of the American pool, tennis, shooting and archery.

Reflecting on the event, Owain’s thoughts were that “The competition was hard, but we all did our best with some of the team doing exceptionally well, with multiple members of our team getting into the finals and even winning some of them. For me, I am not usually a completive person, unless of course I’m involved in wheelchair rugby! I just really enjoyed taking part and having the opportunity to try sports I’ve always wanted to have a go at since being injured”.

The week was finished off with the awards night with team Stoke Mandeville the NSPIC finishing second in the competition behind Salisbury Spinal Treatment Centre, and a big congratulations was in order to all the participants who took part. It is rare that you can say that there were winners but no losers, but in this case at the games everyone took something home with them, from discovering a new sport, a new friendship or just fond memories. A special mention has to go out to Gerard from team Stoke Mandeville who although being the most heavily injured at the games, never thought ‘I can’t do that’ which was noted by every other team and resulted in him receiving the award for significant achievement.

After coming back from the games and reflecting back on the week Owain said: “It is rare for me to say this, but I can honestly say that week really was life changing for me. I had such a good time not only participating but reengaging and talking with people in the same position as me. These things are things that may seem normal to many but can prove to be a unique and uplifting experience to someone like myself whom becoming wheelchair bound is very recent experiance.

I have taken a lot away from that week and it has given me a lot to think about, mainly how can I possibly take up all the sports I now want to do! That week was also made special by my team, Kris, Dani, Glyn, Anthony, Gerard, Tyler, Hana, Lynsey and especially Livv, who deserves special praise. Without Livv team Stoke Mandeville wouldn’t be possible.

“I owe Livv special thanks, for first introducing me to sport while I was in hospital. For coming in on her day off at the hospital on a bank holiday to offer me and other bored patients the chance to do shooting. For coming into the hospital in the evenings when she wasn’t working to offer me and other patients the chance to play some sport. For inviting me to participate in the games and most of all being awesome!