Ben – My Story
My name is Ben Meadows I am 16 years old and I am from Liverpool. I was born with Hemiplegia (CP) . It affects my right side, particularly my right arm and leg. I wear splints on both my arm and leg during the day and night.
I am currently at Broadgreen International Sixth Form studying BTEC Level 3 Sport Development and Health and Social care.
I love all different types of sports but my main passion is football. I am currently a goalkeeper for the North West Regional Talent Centre U17s, CP United FC U18s and LCFA Walton FC.
Where it all began
Since an early age I have had continual physiotherapy which has helped me understand that exercising and keeping strong is an essential part of my life. I started swimming from very young but always loved football.
In 2007 I underwent surgery on my right leg/foot which changed my life I was able to run and move a lot easier. I joined LFC Ability Counts football and also played for Liverpool County FA pan disability development programme. At the age of 11 I was picked to play for the North West Regional Talent Centre. This is where it all began.
The impact that sport has had on my life
I have always loved sport and having CP has never stopped me, in fact it has made me more determined.
When I joined the North West RTC and CP United FC I found my position as a goalkeeper. The coaches I work with are amazing, motivating me consistently and believe in my abilities. I have also met some amazing players and teammates over the years of playing this fantastic sport.
I am lucky to attend Broadgreen International High School as it is a fully inclusive school. I have had the opportunity to try out and compete in a variety of sports, as well as football, such as Boccia, wheelchair basketball and table cricket.
Here are come of my achievements:
As a football player I have attended:
- Soccerex Festival at the Etihad Stadium (to promote and show case the CP game, I took part in this with some of the CP England squad)
- The Peoples Cup
- CP National Cup – The NW are currently 5 times champions in a row
- I have been for trials at St Georges Park and Lillishall for the CP England development squad and been included in a development squad
- Competed in several school regional disability football tournaments
- Goalkeeper for CP United FC vs Japan’s National CP Team at St Georges Park
- I was in the national finals of the Boccia tournament
- I have won a regional basketball tournament with schoo
- I have recently started boxing training with the Derry Mathews Disability Boxing Academy this has been a big challenge for me but I am enjoying this new chapter. After training for only several months I have been given the opportunity to compete in an exhibition bout at a charity event and also have been selected to compete in the first disability white collar event in Liverpool.
As a coach
- I have completed the FA Junior Football Leaders Award
- I am fully qualified Lifeguard
- I have my FA Level 1 Coach in coaching football
- I have my FA Coaching Futsal Level 1
- I am a Step into Sport Young Sporting Ambassador
- I have received a Believe in Young People Broadgreen School Ambassador Award
- I have passed my Referee course
- BTEC Level 2 in Sports Development
- I regularly work with younger children at CP United FC (foundation phase/age 3-11) as an assistant coach at both training sessions and fixtures.
Whilst playing football I have met some amazing people, when I joined CP United I met Michelle Wilcock, who is our lead coach for the club and RTC and also my goalkeeping coach, Jordan Raynes. They have both been a big inspiration to me and have given me the encouragement to develop as a player, a person and a young leader. Mark Horlick the Liverpool County FA’s Disability Officer has been a great support helping me develop as young person and given me lots of opportunities to experience different experiences within the game in my local area. They have all given me the inspiration to work within sport.
I am part of CP United’s Futures programme helping out with the younger foundation group as well as being a young member of the club committee. I work with some of the younger goalkeepers passing on the skills that I have learnt. This has helped my leadership skills, learning to be patient, my communication skills and to make sure they develop and have fun.
Over the summer I helped out at some of the Cerebral Palsy Sport football events which was a great opportunity and I enjoyed this very much. I am also very honoured to be part of the Cerebral Palsy Sport Young Ambassador Team.
Sport has helped me overcome difficulties with my disability, given me confidence, helped me to develop my movement skills and it’s helped massively with my physical development. It has enabled me make lifelong friends and for this reason I would like to encourage other young people with CP to take part in sport.
My personal ambition is to keep developing as a player and as a person and hopefully play for England and for GB in the Paralympics in the future.
I would also like to see more inclusive sport for everyone. A person with a disability should have the same choices and opportunities as anyone else and wear their kit with pride and develop. I would like to help with this in any way I can. I hope that by reading my story I have given others inspiration to never give up on yourself and to try new things, and always challenge yourself.