Growing Number Getting Their Kicks From Amputee Football

Irwin Mitchell Announce Partnership Of National EAFA League

02.03.2016

Oliver Wicks, Press Officer | 0114 274 4649

A growing number of amputees are turning to football to help with their rehabilitation and recovery following a serious injury or illness and enjoy a sport that showcases teamwork, skill and determination.

National law firm Irwin Mitchell will be partnering with the England Amputee Football Association (EAFA) for their 2016/2017 season and aim to broaden the appeal of the increasingly popular sport to an even wider audience and to raise membership to increase participation at all levels.

The EAFA has seen a steady increase in players since 2012 and thanks in part to support from professional football clubs they now have affiliated teams from Arsenal, Everton, Manchester City, Peterborough and Portsmouth in England and Limerick in Ireland.   

The association is always looking for new players and any newcomers not ready for a competitive game can join the grassroots level which has regional teams in cities including Oxford, London and Liverpool.   

In 2015, Irwin Mitchell launched their ‘Don’t Quit, Do It’ campaign to highlight the benefits of sport in helping people recover from serious injuries.

Although there are 9.4m people with disabilities in the UK only one in six takes part in sport regularly and Irwin Mitchell hope the campaign will also encourage more people to get involved in both individual and team sports like Amputee Football.

The ‘Don’t Quit, Do It’ campaign features a series of videos of people who have suffered a life-changing injury and have used inclusive sports such as wheelchair basketball and badminton, amputee cycling, rowing and horse-riding to help overcome their injuries. 

The second phase of the campaign launched in February and profiles teammates who play for Middlesbrough Power Wheelchair Football Club, North East Bulls Wheelchair Rugby Club and Portsmouth Amputee Football Club who play in the national league and are also sponsored by the law firm. 

Specialist serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell help people to access rehabilitation programmes to help them make progress in their recovery so that they can live as independently as possible. 

Serious injury expert Richard Biggs is delighted to be involved with the EAFA and believes this is a fantastic opportunity to get even more people with disabilities playing and enjoying sport.

Expert Opinion

“We are committed to supporting and helping people with a disability to find a sport that will stimulate them mentally and physically and offer an opportunity to meet new people and enjoy new experiences.

“As well as increasing the numbers of participants we want to increase the fan base by sharing some of the amazing skill and talent on show.

“Through the work we do, it’s amazing to see the role physical activity can play in rehabilitation and it’s great for setting goals when our clients are recovering from a serious injury and adapting to new challenges and changes in their lives.

“To help promote Amputee Football plans are in place for a special friendly featuring players from the national league and staff from Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office. This will be a fantastic opportunity to highlight their love for the sport and showcase some very talented footballers.”

Richard Biggs, Associate

The EAFA aims to attract players of all ages and are focused on working to improve junior participation. 

Dave Tweed, Head of EAFA Football Development said: “Amputee Football is a growing sport and we are constantly looking out for more players and teams. The partnership with Irwin Mitchell will help us with travel costs, buying equipment such as balls, flags, cones and also the administration costs of running the league. 

“The ‘Don’t Quit, Do It’ campaign fits perfectly with our aims to promote and develop Amputee Football as a sport and to help develop the players involved. Many amputees have already seen how exercise and physical activity can help them come to terms with a setback and enable them to experience the thrill of a competitive and fast paced yet fun and friendly sport."

Ray Westbrook, lost his leg through cancer when he was 14 and is the Captain of Portsmouth Amputee Football Club. 

He said: “People said ‘he wouldn't be able to do this and do that’ but I have proved them wrong and the adrenaline rush when I play football again has made all the hard work worthwhile. 

“Every game you’ll see amazing examples of balance, strength, speed and determination and playing the game has allowed me to dream again.

“When the ball hits the back of the net the feeling I get reminds me what a great decision it was. If you’re interested then please give it a go."

You can find out more about ‘Don’t Quit, Do It’ here and the EAFA here