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Paralympic ambition for injured Blackburn RFC teenager

14 October 2013

  • Rugby enthusiasm still burns brightly for George
  • New £6,000 wheelchair will help Paralympic ambitions
George Claxton

Photo: RFU Archive

The injury suffered by 15-year-old George Claxton in February 2012 may have changed the life of the Blackburn RUFC teenager forever, but it has certainly not dimmed his appetite for rugby.

George broke his neck 20 months ago while tackling an opponent and has been adapting to the demands of being in a wheelchair with great determination and remarkable good humour.

That process is now well advanced, with his father Andrew's home now adapted and a return to disciplined school life back on the daily agenda.

But while so many aspects of his life have changed radically, George has already set himself some rugby goals and thanks to the help of the Rosslyn Park's Injury Trust Fund, one of those ambitions is about to move an important step closer.

George is aiming to represent Great Britain at wheelchair rugby in the Paralympics and thanks to the Trust Fund, who have bought him a £6,000 custom-built wheelchair, that objective will become a tangible objective.

The formal handover of the new equipment will take place on November 2, 2013 ahead of the game between Rosslyn Park and Fylde at Ansdell, an event which will ensure that George has the best tools with which to pursue his new rugby ambition.

As his earlier comments wheelchair rugby underline, this fiercely competitive version of the game clearly appeals to George’s undiminished enthusiasm.

“The first time I took part in a wheelchair rugby practice was one of the most exciting weekends I’ve had in a long time,” he recalls. “I went to Southport where Westcoast Crash practice and they all made me feel really welcome.

“It felt great getting into a rugby wheelchair for the first time and I had so much fun, although it was extremely exhausting. I absolutely loved it and couldn’t wait for my second session.”

That enthusiasm burned just as brightly ahead of his first competitive game, which capped a very special weekend.

“It was the most exciting couple of days ever when me and my dad were invited by the RFU Injured Players Foundation to the Warner Brothers Studios, where the Harry Potter films were made,” said George. “Prince William, Catherine, Prince Harry and J.K. Rowling were all there to look around and have a meeting about the charities that were there.

“It was an honour to be able to meet Prince William and Catherine and to talk to them for a while.”

The excitement then spilled over into the following day at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, when George took part in his first wheelchair rugby game.

“I scored my first ever goal in my first ever game,” he said. “I was quite nervous because I had not played in a real match before and was wondering what would happen if I made a mess of things. Luckily that didn’t happen and my confidence is now boosted because of my team mates and their support.

“Now I’m looking forward to playing again and thanks to the kindness of the Rosslyn Park Injury Trust Fund, having my own special chair to play in will be a great help, so I’m very keen to get back into action.”