Ted Smiley – My Story
Hi, my name is Ted Smiley and I’m 15 years old. When I was born I was diagnosed with lower limb diplegic cerebral palsy, which affects things like the way I walk and balance issues. Physios always doubted me as a child saying I would never be able to hold a pen, play drums (which I have played for 13 years now), walk or even eat unaided. The only thing that they said may help me was sport, more specifically swimming.
Where it all began
I started swimming at a young age and began to really take to it. When I was 11, I started to swim competitively for Nottingham otherwise known as Nova Centurion. As I got older and matured both as a swimmer and person I started to get faster. I took part in Cerebral Palsy sport swim camps and as I carried on improving I eventually made the step up to regional level, then national level.
In 2015, I enjoyed my best year in swimming, and was nominated for the Gedling Disability Sportperson of the year – which I actually went on to win! In the space of a few months before that I had gathered all the qualifying times for some events in the Cerebral Palsy World Games. I was extremely excited to think that I could represent my country. I found out that I wasn’t allowed on the team because I was too young by a month! I was devastated to think that I was so close but now I have to wait until next year to try and qualify again.
In that same year year though, I had the opportunity of going to Scotland for Internationals as I had a qualifying time for the 400m freestyle, I really enjoyed the experience of swimming against other countries from around the world.
Now, fast forwarding to 2017, I have been reclassifed down to an s6 which I now feel is more realistic for me as a swimmer as I have no movement of my legs in the water. I am now top 10 in the country for an s6 and a lot closer to British records (woohoo!).
Not to long ago I began playing Wheelchair Basketball, which I thoroughly enjoy, I started playing for Nottingham Hoods and I am really grateful for how far I have come under their coaching. Recently, I had the opportunity, to go and train with Derby Wheelblazers, who play in Division 3 – this was my first time playing with a competitive Basketball team. I am really enjoying the training and felt very welcome when introduced to the squad. I hope to play for wheelblazers in this upcoming season and develop as a player around excellent wheelchair basketball players.
All the sports and music (playing drums) that I do now, have had a massive positive impact on my disability. Now I am signed off both Physiotherapy and yearly hospital visits. Sport and music have become a very important factor in my all around wellbeing with CP.
As I type this, I am doing my work experience with Cerebral Palsy Sport. I am really enjoying it, already having a few eye openers after speaking to some of the team about their responsibilities and jobs behind the scenes. I was really keen to have my work experience at Cerebral Palsy Sport as I have been linked with them for a few years now through swimming but I wanted to learn new things and presented with other challenges.
Thinking about my future plans, going down the pathway of disability sport maybe a possibility for me, but my real passion is music and drums. My dream is to become a professional drummer and tour with my band Discussion. I want to prove that whatever my handicap I can still make it in the music industry. Music has also helped me with confidence as I am in my school band, and my band called Discussion with friends who are fantastic musicians. I aim to always stay close to disability sport because without that I wouldn’t have met so many people and I wouldn’t have had the great opportunity to work at Cerebral Palsy Sport for my placement.