Tom – My Story

About Tom

As a profoundly deaf player with cerebral palsy Tom may have felt that contact rugby wasn’t going to be a possibility. However, just  a few months after his first training session he represented Derby RFC in a full contact match and visited Sixways Stadium with the rest of the Derby Bucks MA team.

Where it all started

I’m very passionate about rugby and have been attending Derby RFC to support the 1st XV for a number of years. Because of this I wanted the club to start a Mixed Ability team, so I could actually participate. Following a presentation from IMAS (International Mixed Ability Sports) the sessions started in October, I’ve already played in a community fixture in Worcester and had my first full contact fixture on the 8th December in Northampton.

What is it that you most enjoy about the team?

I like being healthy and enjoy running. I’m excited about the prospect of the new Derby Mixed Ability team as I enjoy throwing the ball and getting involved in the contact elements like scrummaging and tackling. I enjoy the higher level of MA Rugby as it pushes me to be better.


How does being a member of Derby Bucks MA team help in your everyday life?

Being involved in sport helps me by increasing my general happiness whilst also giving me the opportunity to make new friends. I’m happy whilst I’m playing and find it has built up my confidence. Afterwards I feel tired!


How important is it that your friends and family get involved?

It’s great to have the support of my family, my brother Adam attends a lot of the sessions and helps the coach out. I also remember that dad used to enjoy rugby before he passed away so it’s nice to have that connection. My staff help a lot by providing travel to the sessions, support during the session and interpreting some of the coaches’ instructions.

What would you say to other people who might be thinking about joining an MA team?

They should get involved, it’s a great way to make friends, have a laugh and is generally a happy place!

Tom also plays basketball for a Derby disability team and volunteers on matchdays at Derby RFC.



Thanks to Try for Change Project Manager, Mike Hawkes and Adam, Tom’s brother, who helped to put this together.

Image credit Mick Massey.

To find out more about the Try for Change Project, or to start a team in your club please contact Mike Hawkes on visit