Rugby star Mike’s ready for action

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AFTER hockey star Laura Bartlett brought home bronze and swimmer Michael Jamieson grabbed silver, Mike Kerr is hoping to go one better.

The paralympic wheelchair rugby star is hoping to earn gold, to add to the impressive London 2012 achievements by both Glasgow sporting stars.

The 29-year-old is part of the 11-man-squad hoping to improve on their fourth place finish in Beijing in 2008.

Things looked bleak for Mike while he spent 10 months recovering from his accident at the Southern General hospital spinal unit in 2000.

However, when he finally returned home, his sport became a source of solace for him.

He told The Extra: “I dived into the shallow end of a swimming pool while on holiday and broke my neck and, after rehab, I got into wheelchair rugby and haven’t really looked back since.

“I doubt I would have been doing anything had I not had my accident. I played sport occasionally like anybody but nothing on this level, nothing close.

“For me it was massively important. It’s made me the person I am today. When I first got involved it gave me that confidence I needed after my accident. It made me fit and strong”.

His side face a mammoth task from the get-go when they come up against USA on September 5 in their opening match.

The American side have won every World Championships and Paralympic games since 2006, in the sport, which is one of just two full contact sport in the Paralympics.

Mike, who is a member of the Bank of Scotland local heroes programme and the only Scot in wheelchair rugby, said: “Our expectation is that we can win a medal. We came second in the Europeans last year, so we’ve got a good platform.

“If we can perform well we should be able to bring a medal home, and we’ll see, maybe, if it’s a gold.

“Since I heard it was going to be in London I’ve wanted to be there competing. It’s a goal I set.

“The Paralympics show people what is possible. If you suffer an injury you are still more than capable of doing good things.

“Your life doesn’t need to stop because you’re disabled, the opportunities are there for everyone to go and achieve what they want.

“Sport is all about giving it your all, whether you’re able-bodied or disabled”.

Mike coaches across Scotland as part of his volunteer work for Spinal Injuries Scotland.