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Paraplegic table tennis player to compete in Rotary North London Disability Games
2:49pm Thursday 5th September 2013 in News
A man who has lost the use of his legs is looking forward to competing in a disability games.
Derek Bryan, who lives in Elmwood Avenue in Borehamwood, will be one of the athletes competing in the Rotary North London Disability Games in October.
The keen sportsman is wheelchair-bound after a degenerative back condition made him unable to walk.
He said: “I love table tennis, I used to play a lot of football and other sports before I became paraplegic.
“I’ve competed for 40 years, I played in three leagues in Barnet, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans and was chairman of the Borehamwood team.”
The retired clock maker began to suffer excruciating back pain four years ago.
The pain gradually worsened, although it was not picked up by the NHS, until doctors discovered the base of his spine had worn away.
“Other people I met while in rehabilitation were paralysed while jumping out of a window while drunk or being in a motorbike accident. I don’t have a story like that.”
Mr Bryan started playing wheelchair table tennis while he was rehabilitating at Stanmore Hospital’s spinal injury unit.
He said: “They do everything they can there to allow you to have a life as close to your old one as possible.
“They started me playing table tennis and even in a wheelchair I beat all the staff members.”
Mr Brian was selected by the hospital to represent it at the WheelPower Inter Spinal Unit Games in Stoke Mandeville in 2010, in which patients from spinal units across the country compete in a variety of sports.
However, the difficulty of getting out of the house and finding other people to compete against means he does not play very often.
The retired clock maker added: “I saw the Rotary Club disability games mentioned in the Borehamwood Times and decided to sign up.
“I very much looking to the disability games. It will be a chance to get out of the house and maybe I’ll find someone to play with.”
This year’s competition, organised by Rotary Clubs from across North London, takes place on October 13 at the Aspire National Training Centre in Stanmore.
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