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Amputee Tennis in Carlisle

September 8, 2015

For the past six months the Disability Tennis Network in partnership with the local Disablement Services at Cumberland Infirmary have been delivering tennis as a way of rehabilitating amputee adults. This opportunity has worked really well for the participants who have come through the programme leading to healthier more active lives.

Throughout tennis we would naturally propose that these participants use wheelchairs to play tennis however the benefits that have come from not doing this is unbelievable and is something other people could learn from, after all we are developing tennis for everyone.

Player Profiles:

Elaine, 48 yrs, became a below knee amputee in 2009 following a motor bike accident and is now a regular tennis player at Bitts Park. “I had a fall in 2014 which resulted in an ulcer on my stump and I was unable to wear a prosthesis for 7 months. After physio at Cumberland Infirmary, I still had problems with attempting stairs and steps as I had fallen down steps in my fall, I had a complete lack of confidence in my prosthesis. After I didn’t fall in the first tennis session I had more confidence in my prosthesis. I also attempted the steps at the park, so I felt a little more confident in walking down steps. As the tennis sessions continued my confidence in both stairs / steps and the prosthesis has grown, so I am now happier walking with my prosthesis inside and outside my home. Socially I have met a group of really nice people who I value in my life, also my fitness is better due to playing tennis and this has given me confidence to try cycling again”

Dawn, became an amputee in June 2013 following complications from diabetes. Until the tennis sessions (March 2015) she was still using a walking stick to get around and was quite socially isolated. Following her involvement with the tennis she was given a new lease of life which lead to her finding her own house to live in, taking part in the local community, more involvement in group activities, took on a part time job working behind a bar a few hours a week and became more involved with the Cumbria Wheelchair sports club. She was able to make friends who she said accepted her for being her and didn’t feel her disability was a stigma.

Neil became a forequarter amputee in September 2014 to remove a cancerous tumour. Prior to amputation he played a lot of tennis and attended Cardio tennis weekly, he now plays in the amputee session on a Wednesday and has been back to the Cardio tennis weekly for a few months, these sessions gave him confidence and a feel for how he had to adapt. The DTN will be approaching Neil to see if he would like to become a tennis coach for the programme. Both the DTN and the Rehabilitation Exercise Practitioners will be working with the group and CSP to deliver recreational competition for these participants and possible coaching opportunities through the Tennis Foundation.

Matt Elkington, “This excellent piece of work coming out of Carlisle DTN outlines another way to deliver tennis and support people who may not currently be targeted through our current activity across the Country, we will be supporting these guys to become coaches and share their experience with other groups of individuals throughout Cumbria, if anyone would like to find out more about this work or these players specifically please get in touch”.