CP Sport collected a range of profiles from people with CP that participate in sport, as well as profiles from coaches, physiotherapists and parents of players to use as promotional material during the #CPawarenessmonth. We aim to encourage more people with CP to take part in sport by sharing positive stories and delivering opportunities.
Name: Dylan Harris
Role: Athlete (Athletics)
Club: Reading Athletics Club
About me: I am 25 and am a T38 athlete. When I was 17 my mum saw me running in the park in a race against my brother who does not have CP and thought I ran quite fast. It was just after the Paralympics and so she called the Reading Athletics club to see if they did any disabled athletics. They didn’t at the time but agreed for me to come down for a trial and the rest is history. I went through classification with British Athletics and within 6 months was selected to run for Great Britain at the European Championships in Italy in 2016. I unfortunately was reclassified from a T36 to a T38 during the international classification at the event meaning my times were not as competitive. But I got my GB colours and so began my journey with a sport that I now love and still compete in.
How I benefit from playing sport:
Now 8 years later, my body is a lot stronger and I am much fitter. I can now do things that before I could not. My balance has improved immensely and my core strength is so much better. I am also deaf, and have autism but small achievements improve my mental health and being involved in a sport gives me a purpose.
The impact sport has had on my life: Before starting athletics, I played football for a local able bodied team. I was always the player that came on for the last 5 minutes. When I started doing athletics, it was something I was doing for me and every time I run, yes I am running a race but I am trying to better my own time so I continue to have a goal and something to aim for. I received a pride of Reading award for my achievements and through Athletics, have made many friends. I have even been told that I inspire other athletes in the club who do not have disabilities.
My ambitions in sport:
I want to continue to improve and be the best version of myself. I want to continue with athletics as long as I can and hope to inspire other young people with CP in the area to try to do sport. I would like to see more disabled athletes competing from athletics clubs in the south and see more promotion in schools. When I was at school, no-one mentioned disabled sports to me and I wish that I had started earlier.
What would you say to others with CP about playing sport: If you have cerebral palsy, sport is the best thing you can do. Sport improves your muscles, it improves your confidence and it gives you something to aim for. I have grown into a more independent and confident person through my athletics and it has shown me that with help from others and with trying, you can achieve great things. Even if you just take 0.05 seconds off a personal best time, it gives you a huge sense of achievement.
What other sports I would like to try given the opportunity: Football