Communities

How Powerchair football restored Mike's belief

26 Nov 2018

Norwich City and the PL/BT Disability Fund have helped Mike Coleman overcome Duchenne muscular dystrophy to remain active

Powerchair footballer Mike Coleman is in his element as he controls the ball and fires passes across a sports hall in Norwich.

"I've always liked watching normal football, so to be able to play myself in wheelchair football is very good," he says.

"Playing powerchair football brings back a bit of what I was missing.

"The thing I like the most is how everyone's kind of level when you're in the chair, so you all have a chance of winning.

"It's helped my confidence a lot because if I didn't play this, I wouldn't really speak to that many people. It gives me an interest to talk about."

Norwich opportunity

Coleman has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a degenerative muscle-wasting disease.

"When Michael was diagnosed, I said there must be something out there that we could do and I was told, 'No, there isn't, just make him comfortable,' " his mum, Tracey, says.

"I've never been somebody to just make anyone comfortable. It's just, fight, fight, fight, and there must be something out there which is going to change."

After a recommendation from a friend, Coleman started powerchair football with Norwich City's Community Sports Foundation (CSF) in a programme now supported by the Premier League/BT Disability Fund.

"If I didn't play this, I wouldn't really speak to that many people"

Michael Coleman

PL/BT Disability Fund support

Thanks to the fund, Norwich have increased the participants in their coaching sessions, now fielding two regional teams as well as one in the Muscular Dystrophy UK National League for the first time in five years.

"It's massive because it means a lot of the players can now reach their potential as well," says Darren Hunter, CSF disability development manager.

Coleman has dreams of playing powerchair football for England but has also become a coach, passing on his experience and skills to others.

"If I can't make it, then hopefully I can help somebody in this team to get there," he says.

Humphrey impressed

BT Sport presenter and CSF trustee Jake Humphrey visited the CSF multi-purpose community hub to see Coleman in action.

"Because of the kind of courses that the Community Sports Foundation run and the opportunities we give people and the funding that comes in from things like the BT & Premier League disability fund, it means the money is there to spend time with young people who have got a disability," Humphrey told Norwich's official website.

"They can still play football, they can still do an event and come and take part in one of our sessions, and it is genuinely changing people's lives."

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