How Sports Changed My Life

By Paige Hudson-Jones

Growing up I loved to try new things, although I always thought that sports wasn’t my ‘thing’. I was never the fastest or fittest and never really wanted to take part in Physical Education. I don’t quite know whether that was down to how prone I was to getting injured, or just the fact I never quite fit in with the sporty girls.

Women in Sport with Network She Paige Hudson-Jones

Being the academic inclined person that I am, aged 16, I started studying Forensic Science (not at all sports related). It was a great course and I loved studying it. However, a few months into the course I started having trouble sitting down, I felt in so much pain that I could no longer travel by bus to college every day. My family offered to help by driving me, so I could be in the most comfortable position possible, and I stood for the most part of each lecture.

A few weeks later, on a morning that seemed no different from every other morning, I woke up and realised I couldn’t move my legs. I was paralysed.

The paralysis would come and go, every few hours I’d be stuck not able to feel or move anything from my waist down. When I could feel and move my movements would be very limited and I wouldn’t know when I’d next collapse into a heap on the floor. I quit college after a month of the paralysis.

My problems seemed to be endless and without reason, many days and weeks spent in hospital, wheelchair bound, and still no answers.

July 2017, I was in hospital for over a week. I had been scanned, assessed, tested, poked and prodded and still no explanations. Whilst discussing my situation with my mother, I talked about what I would do if I recovered from this, what would I do with my life now that I gave up my education. We discussed watersports, something that I had loved doing through the sea cadets but never really thought of doing to any skilled level.

September 2017, after 4 weeks of seeing an Osteopath my life was back on track. He suspected I had a condition called Elhers Danlos Syndrome, in the form of Hypermobility. This meant that what I had already knew about my joints dislocating from a young age, was a lot more severe than originally expected.
Now free from being in a wheelchair and having not experienced an episode of paralysis for quite some time, I set about finding somewhere to learn about watersports.

In March 2018 I travelled down to the Isle of Wight where I lived and trained for 3 months to become and watersports instructor. It was difficult, but with determination and help from my family and friends I was able to finish the course.

I never really thought that sports were for me but just a year after being paralysed and wheelchair bound, I realised that sports is for everyone, and sports helped me put my life back together. I now work at Plas Menai National Outdoors Centre through Sports Wales and aspire to travel the world with my chosen sports and show everyone I meet along the way that sports are different for everyone and there is so much more to get out of sports than just exercise.

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