Second Year Sport Business student, Rio Boothe, is partnering with charities in the North West to raise awareness around the barriers surrounding disabilities and para sport.
Rio, who has Cerebral Palsy, is a competing para-athlete for Manchester Harriers and the LJMU athletics team in the T37 classification. He competes in the 100/200/Long jump and recently got accepted onto a Sport Scholarship at LJMU.
It was during lockdown that Rio began training in 100m which sparked his dream to become a para-athlete. Rio also began posting about his journey on TikTok and through the social channel was discovered by several charities (Cerebral Palsy Sport and upmovement) to be an ambassador, spokesperson and role model for younger children with Cerebral Palsy.
Rio is now working closely with Cerebral Palsy Sport to set up a hub in the Northwest and Liverpool to get more people with Cerebral Palsy actively engaged in sport.
Rio said: “I actively avoided sports during high school and was bullied because of my Cerebral Palsy Right Sided Hemiplegia. I was always picked last and was heavily taunted because of the splint on my right leg. It wasn’t until college that I fully started embracing my disability and started my sports journey.”
Approximately 160,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, which is neurological condition and group of disorders that affect a person's ability to move and maintain balance and posture. CP is also the most common motor disability in childhood.
“There are many reasons why people with disabilities and Cerebral Palsy might not partake in sporting activities. This could be lack of opportunities, lack of awareness, low self-esteem or even bullying. The team and I want to inspire as many people as possible so there is no longer a stigma around disabilities.”
As part of the project, Cerebral Palsy Sport will deliver regular sport sessions to those with Cerebral Palsy, particular aimed at high school students and those in Higher Education.
The project is also appealing for those with or without Cerebral Palsy interested in coaching the sessions.
If you’d like to find out more about the project, have Cerebral Palsy or a disability and want to get into sport, or are interested in coaching opportunities on the project, contact Rio Boothe here.