Co Tyrone man’s journey into sport after leg amputated in work fall

A Co Tyrone man who was paralysed and later had his leg amputated following a work fall has spoken about his journey into the world of sport after his life-changing injury.

Marty Lavery from Dungannon was speaking as the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust held a special sports day for patients recovering from amputations.

Marty had been working on a site in 2016 when fell 35 feet off a set of scaffolding, breaking his back and leaving him paralysed.

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While later recovering from his injuries, he was then dealt a further blow by having to have his leg amputated.

“It was a big change in my life,” Marty told Belfast Live.

“I had to adapt to it and get used to it. The first two years were hard for me to get used to being in a wheelchair, get used to my whole body.

“I was paralysed from the waist down for two years. Now I’ve got my right leg fully back and my waist, it was just my leg that got the battering and saved my head, saved my life.

“I got my leg amputated because of low blood circulation and that was a hard thing too but I’ve hammered on and got a prosthetic leg made.

“I never thought I would walk again, but I got back walking and then got into sport.”

Marty is now a regular player at local wheelchair hurling and basketball teams, and says the benefits of sport to amputees are huge.

“It’s good for the mind, the fun is good,” he says.

“I would recommend to anybody to take up a sport, when I was an able-bodied person I never even thought of playing sport.

“It’s good for the body, good for the mind and keeps you fit.”

Lorraine Graham, a consultant at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, said it was heartwarming to see so many amputees, young and old, attending the Trust’s ‘Come and Try’ day at the Olympia Leisure Centre.

“After an amputation it can be a very difficult time obviously, and many people can feel that life may not have the same quality after an amputation.

“Some people don’t even want to leave the home, but actually an amputation can release people into a different journey and many people do find sport as a way of socialising and getting a new skill.]

“We have children here right up to the older age groups and all were able to come and have a chance to try something new, so it was a lovely atmosphere.”

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