Mathew – My Story
Mathew Williams, is 21 years old. He was born 9 weeks premature, on life support Intensive Care Unit, Glan Clwyd Hospital, Bodelwyddan, North Wales. Discharged after 10 weeks, two emergency operations Alder Hey Hospital, one at 11 weeks of age and the second at 12 weeks of age. Mathew was diagnosed as having Cerebral Palsy Spastic Dyplegia, a week after he had conquered walking independently following his second birthday.
Mathew has worn adapted splints and peidro boots throughout his childhood and has had daily physiotherapy both at home, within school and again at the Child Development Centre.
Mathew attended main stream primary and secondary schools, with a 1-1 helper and subsequently college, in Llangefni and Llandrillo, the latter undertaking sports and public service course, final year September 2016. Mathew has been accepted onto work placement at Caernarfon Leisure Centre.
Mathew had major surgery booked in Gobowen when he was 16 years of age, 2013, booked for the next day following his last exam in school. Realignment of his right foot to point forwards, cutting through his hip and inserting a plate, surgery on both knees to replace his kneecaps (torn away from position due to the CP) and cutting of the main tight muscle in his right leg. Mathews’ recovery was unprecedented and he left the hospital 7-10 days following surgery. Unfortunately Mathew fractured his right knee cap in September which resulted in further surgery in Gobowen, February 2014 further surgery in February to release the tight muscle in his right groin and then the final operation in his right knee to remove a rogue piece of bone June 2014. Finally in September 2014 he was given the all clear to start recovery and physiotherapy to build up his muscles. As his surgeon says“ I’m the carpenter now it’s up to you”.
Where it all began
Mathew enrolled in the local gym using the swimming pool to build up his leg muscles and using the steam room to release the tightness in his muscles. Once Mathew had gained strength in his leg muscles and was able to walk with sticks rather than crutches, he then enrolled at the local gym and under instruction from a fitness instructor on a one to one basis further developed a regime to build up his leg muscles, daily trips to the local woodland path where Mathew would walk, jog, walk and jog. Mathew has always been involved with sports and weights and has immense upper body and core strength.
Mid-September 2015 Mathew tried out Wheelchair basketball in Caernarfon and absolutely loved it, Debs, his coach realised his potential and referred him to Aberystwyth basketball team, whereby Mathew attended the weekly training sessions and was then asked to join their team to play in both Division 4 and Division 3 matches.
Whilst at Aberystwyth, Lee Coulson, Basketball Wales U16 coach and Coach to Aberystwyth Warriors and Rhys Lewis, DSW Academy Athlete T54 wheelchair racer referred Mathew to Nathan Stevens, Talent Officer, Disability Sport Wales, who met up with Mathew in North Wales and invited him down to Cardiff, 20th February 2016, to be officially classified train and develop within sports with a view to being accepted onto the Paralympic squad for 2020 games. Mathew has been officially classified as T35/F35.
Mathew also does Track training and Shot training and Powerlifting. He Competed in Para Power lifting competition on the 2nd October 2016 in Stockport, achieved first lift 55 kg and second lift 60 kgs failed 2/1 against his third lift at 65 kgs. In his second compeition he was a Guest in English Para powerlifting Championships Milton Keynes 21st January 2017, opened first lift 70kgs, second lift 73 kgs and third lift 76 kgs which he lifted cleanly but was not awarded the third lift as he lifted before first judge said ‘lift’ – learning curve!
As well as competing in the above, Mathew is a member of Cerebral Palsy Sport and travels throughout the country to Cerebral Palsy Sport events, including Stoke Mandeville , Gateshead, Doncaster, and Nottingham.
Mathew was awarded Cerebral Palsy Sports Athletics Series Junior Male Field athlete of 2016 and Menai Track and Field senior athlete of the year 2016 .
Mathew has been spotted by Nathan Stevens, Talent Officer, Disability Sport Wales, who invited him down to Cardiff, 20th February 2016, to train and develop within sports with a view to being accepted onto the Paralympic squad for 2020 games. Mathew has been officially classified as T35/F35. Mathew is now training for powerlifting, Shot Put and 60/100m sprint. He will be invited to try out other sports and is keen to trial cycling as another option.
Submitted by Anwen Williams (Mother)