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Our students – TJ Yates’ Story

Terrance, TJ to his friends, is 21 and it will be 6 years this April since he lost his leg in a horrific fairground accident.

Prior to having his accident, TJ dreamed of becoming a pro footballer and played for Havant & Waterlooville. Sport had always been a big part of his life; he was also a keen runner and rugby player and had aspirations to become the best in his field.

The accident happened due to an error with the safety bar on a roller coaster which left TJ hanging out of the cart as the ride moved on. He sustained serious injuries to his leg and, on arriving at the hospital, had only ½ unit of blood left. Clearly he was very lucky to survive such a serious accident but, due to the gravity of his injuries, his leg had to be amputated.

 After his accident he spent a month in hospital and a further year in rehab. His biggest worry on losing his leg was that it would be the end of his sporting dreams. During his time in rehab, however, he was introduced to wheelchair basketball and found that he had a natural flair for the game. Basketball became the light at the end of the tunnel for TJ and gave him renewed hope for the future.

Being naturally strong and fit and with a huge amount of enthusiasm TJ threw himself into the game, determined to succeed. He started playing for the Hampshire Harriers and it wasn’t long before he was part of the under 23 GB squad. He has since moved on to play for the West Coast Tornados and is hugely proud of his quick progression within the sport.

 During his time playing for the GB squad TJ has had the chance to travel to places such as Italy, Holland, Turkey, Germany, and Spain, winning the silver medal in the European’s in Italy. He is due to find out soon if they will be competing in the Paralympics this year.

TJ is an amazing person to talk to; he speaks about his disability openly and has the ability to make jokes at his own expense. He loves to show off in his chair, doing wheelies, and wowing those watching with his amazing upper body strength.

 TJ is now studying on our full time course and before long will be a fully qualified personal trainer. He joined a gym after he had his accident and found that they weren’t well equipped to deal with his disability and, moreover, that they were ill equipped with the knowledge and necessary training techniques to help him progress.

 From his experience TJ has seen a niche gap in the market and plans to open his own gym one day specialising in helping people with disabilities. He has close links with the rehab units in local hospitals and will undoubtedly have a lot of clients who will greatly benefit from his experience, courage and enthusiasm. Needless to say we will be behind him 100% and wish him every success in his future career and what will hopefully be a successful and rewarding business.