Deidre Healy, partner, Irwin MitchellOf the 12 million Britons living with disability, only one in six takes part in sport regularly.

Yet 70% of disabled people would like to be more active, according to a 2018 report by Activity Alliance (formerly the English Federation of Disability Sport).

Through our Don’t Quit, Do Itinitiative, we have seen at close hand just how transformative inclusive sport
can be. The campaign, launched in 2015, has drawn attention to our clients that refuse to be defined by
their disability.

Instead, they use sporting achievement and ability as a beacon to showcase their talent, determination and belief. Sport gives them levels of freedom and independence they may previously have given up on.

As 21-year-old Ainsley explains, it creates new horizons after the impact of a life-changing injury.

“It was so hard coming to terms with my injuries, but sport has assisted with my recovery and opened me up to a whole new world of possibilities,” he says.

Ainsley was months into an architecture and property development degree at the University of Wolverhampton when he suffered a spinal cord injury in a road traffic collision. In the aftermath, sport offered an unexpected lifeline.

His rehab journey took him to the Inter Spinal Unit Games, which gives people with spinal injuries a taster of a range of different sports – and a chance to make new friends along the way.

He was particularly taken by rowing, and now loves the freedom and responsibilities of being on the water.

He aims to boost his recovery further by adding other inclusive activities to his locker, including wheelchair basketball.

Like Ainsley, Issy’s (pictured right) university studies were abruptly halted by a spinal cord injury sustained in a road accident.

Before her injury at 19, she’d been a keen runner, javelin champion and talented hockey player. Afterwards, she had no intention of giving up the sporting life. “Before my injury I knew I needed sport, now I know I can’t live without it,” she says.

This commitment to sport was the start of a journey that took Issy to the pinnacle of global elite sport. Post injury, she tried several new sports and two seemed to stick.

Firstly, she fell in love with wheelchair rugby, with its exciting combination of contact and team spirit offering a continual adrenaline rush.

Then came her foray into shooting; which proved so successful that she ultimately competed at the Rio Paralympics in 2016. She is now working hard towards the Tokyo 2020 games.

For some clients, the challenges of injury start in the earliest stages of life. Sport is a vital ally in their ongoing rehabilitation process as they develop.

Halle (pictured below), for example, was injured during birth, causing nerve damage in her neck and a diagnosis of Erb’s palsy.

The support secured by our experts has helped to open doors to inclusive activity throughout her life since.

Sport has been a consistent presence during her rehabilitation, with horse riding and swimming among the various activities she particularly enjoys.

Her biggest passion, however, is karate. She has been having lessons for over seven years and has competed in a range of competitions.

For Halle, martial arts offer discipline and physicality and, crucially, a way of expressing herself – while overcoming the challenges of injury.

“I am determined to improve the movement in my arm as much as I can and sport has already helped so much,” she says.

Click here to read more stories from Irwin Mitchell’s Don’t Quit, Do It campaign.