Cerebral Palsy
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It's never too late

WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,354 Pioneering
edited March 25 in Cerebral Palsy
Hi all, 
          I hope that this finds everyone well and I would please like to thank you all for taking the time to read this. As Cerebral Palsy awareness month comes to an end, I would like to share with you what I have been doing this month. As we can all appreciate, living with Cerebral Palsy is not easy and it has an impact on all aspects of our lives. For me, it has caused so many barriers and negative attitudes from others, however, it has also blessed me with key skills and qualities that I continue to develop. Sometimes living with CP can be tiring, not only physically but emotionally and mentally too. All to often, the focus is on what we can't do or what we find difficult rather than on what we can do and the skills and knowledge we have. 
As many of you know, I love football and any chance to be involved whether that be playing or talking and I'm there. However, for me, growing up opportunities to play football with others who had Cerebral Palsy simply didn't exist and as I became older, my mobility started to deteriorate and I now mainly use my wheelchair. However, I have also always had a passion for coaching and this side of the game intrigues me. I thought to myself shall I just accept that football isn't something I can physically do or shall I explore opportunities, talk to people and see what's out there? 
You guessed it, I did the latter and this month I achieved my 'Introduction to Football coaching' with the FA and it's equivalent to level 1. It was a fantastic course and I can't wait to put what I've learnt into practice. It's brilliant that the FA, mainly due to the pandemic, have considered how these courses can be moved online, making it more accessible for everyone. I very much look forward to continuing to develop my practice as a coach, explore new coaching qualifications and raise awareness of disability football, particularly for those with CP and how football is for everyone. 
Thank you.   


  • ScottyboyScottyboy Member Posts: 47 Courageous
    Wow!  As a fellow footballer supporter, I am aware of how much of an achievement this is and of how much the sport can have such barriers to people with disabilities. With this is mind, I would like to acknowledge your achievement. Well done you @WestHam06....Congratulations! :smiley:
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 9,114 Disability Gamechanger
    May I add my congratulations @WestHam06 - that certainly is an achievement. Thank you for sharing how you overcome obstacles & turn things into something positive. As the saying goes, 'Where there's a will, there's a way.' :)
  • Richard_ScopeRichard_Scope Posts: 2,830

    Scope community team

    edited March 25
    I am so happy for you @WestHam06 and I know that the whole community will be too! I never doubted you or your ability for one second 
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  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 3,632 Disability Gamechanger
    Congratulations @WestHam06 and well done you!
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Posts: 4,114

    Scope community team

    Delighted for you @WestHam06, such a brilliant achievement and the start of a really exciting time for you :) 

    Well done to the FA for making the course accessible, they get a lot of criticism but they deserve credit here.
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  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 3,980

    Scope community team

    Wow @WestHam06 well done you  :)  That just shows the power of shifting our mindsets from what might not be possible, to that what is and can be done.  Your positivity and determination continually shines through and I'm super proud of you!
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  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 11,120 Disability Gamechanger
    Wow @WestHam06 what an achievement well done you 

    You are an inspiration to others showing what can be done if we believe in ourselves 
  • CressidaCressida Member Posts: 834 Pioneering
    Well done @WestHam06! That's a fantastic achievement 👏
  • GarzaGarza Member Posts: 130 Pioneering
    congratulations, I find this really interesting, I am a wheelchair user and a keen football fan (Chelsea for my sins!) Diversity is often mentioned around football but usually only in the context of gender and race, I wonder if we would ever see a disabled coach in the professional game? Do you think this would be viable? 

    I am also interested in the coaching courses, how do you apply for these and do you think as a wheelchair user I would be able to do them? 
  • WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,354 Pioneering
    Thank you so much for all the kind and supportive comments, I really appreciate them. 
  • WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,354 Pioneering
    Hi @Garza,
                        Thank you so much for your comments and I do share your view that when diversity in football is spoken about, disability often is not included and that needs  to change. Personally, it needs to start at grassroots level, there are lots of different pathways in relation to disability football including pan disability and impairment specific, however often we do not hear of these.  In response to your question is it possible that one day there will be a coach with a disability in the professional game and will it be possible, my answer is absolutely, but it will take a lot of shifting in people's perspective and the attitude of those at the top of the game. However, I do feel we are every so slightly going in the right direction, with great organisations, such as CP Sport, knocking on the FA's door and saying 'Football is for everyone' let's make sure that's true and reflective. 
    In terms of courses, all you need to do is set yourself up with a FAN number and account with the FA and accessing The Boot Room is also useful, all you need to do is Google this. I believe the course I have just completed will be available later this year, however I would recommend you looking at the FA Playmaker course which is available now and is a really brief introduction to coaching. It may be worth exploring local clubs and seeing if there were any teams, including those with disabilities, and volunteering with them. I have done this and I am  working with a team for those with CP. 
    Lastly, your question of 'can I do this as a wheelchair user'? was exactly the question I asked when I contacted the team coach and they said 'Yes, why not'? It may not always be easy but it is always possible. Football is one of my greatest loves, I've missed out on aspects of it for a long time, I don't think I want to miss out anymore. 
    Please if you have any more questions, feel free to ask. Thank you.
  • WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,354 Pioneering
    Hi @Garza
                       Please see a link below to the FA Playmaker course, hope this helps and any questions, please do ask. Thank you

    The FA Playmaker - Courses - The Boot Room | The Football Association

  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Posts: 4,114

    Scope community team

    Can I ask you a question about your sutdies so far @WestHam06

    What would you say is the most interesting thing you've learnt so far? Or the most interesting aspect?
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  • WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,354 Pioneering
    Hi @Ross_Scope
                                  This is a great question, thank you for asking. I would say the most interesting thing I have learnt so far is how the use of scoring points or goals can be adapted to meet many different situations, for example if you wanted to set up an activity where you wanted there to be four scoring opportunities but you only had two goals, using different equipment to create an opportunity to score a point. An example would be to put down two cones and say 'If you pass the ball through this gate, it is worth a point'. It is amazing how adaptable it can be. 
    The most inspiring element to the course is understanding the role of the coach and how the role develops people as well as players and how it is the coach's role to ensure all players develop 'a love of the game for life'. Thank you. 

  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Posts: 4,114

    Scope community team

    That's so interesting, thank you for sharing @WestHam06 :) 

    Developing the person, as well as the player, has become a huge part of football these days hasn't it? You have to know what makes each player tick, and how they will best learn
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  • Caz_AlumniCaz_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 626 Pioneering
    Hi @WestHam06 :)

    A huge well done on everything you've achieved so far! 

    I'll be honest, I'm not much of a football fan - sorry, sorry, I know that's sacrilegious in these parts!! But your passion and enthusiasm shines through so much. I've really enjoyed reading your posts about being involved with the coaching side of things - you're a great ambassador for the game. 

    Keep up the great work - and all the best with whatever you set out to do next :)

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  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,565 Disability Gamechanger
    Years ago my GP told my father I would never play ball sports with anything smaller than a football. I went on to play at county level at table tennis (well, I was a sub) and won medals at football in my 30s. In my 20s I was a student in Leeds and did my coaching badges at York City during the Denis Smith era. 
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,989

    Scope community team

    Amazing @WestHam06! Well done :) 

    Nice one @mikehughescq. Do you still play table tennis or football? I've wanted to give table tennis a go for a few years now but have never taken the plunge. 
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  • WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,354 Pioneering
    Hi @Caz_Scope
                                 Hope you are well. Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words, I greatly appreciate them. Don't worry, it's ok not to a football fan, we're all different. Who knows though, I may convince you yet :smiley: Best wishes and thank you. 
  • WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,354 Pioneering
    Absolutely @Ross_Scope one of the absolute musts as a coach nowadays is understanding why a player plays. At grassroots level, not all players play football to become the next Harry Kane, some play to make friends, others play for the benefits to their physical mental wellbeing and as a coach it's about taking this on board, supporting it and ensuring that each individual is getting the most out of the session. The main thing is to ensure that sessions are FUN and that the players return the following session. In order to do this, it's about making it a collective effort, listening to player feedback and building on from there. Thank you. 
  • WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,354 Pioneering
    Thank you for sharing your experience @mikehughescq sounds really interesting and fun. Please may I ask, are you still involved with football? Thank you
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