RFU Injured Players Foundation client Gary Evans shares his experiences at the Battle Back weekend, and how it helped him find his love of archery.
Gary Evans was catastrophically injured playing for Beckenham more than 30 years ago, before the charity existed.
Relying on a wheelchair for more than three decades Gary says: “Recently I found I was sitting at home on the computer a lot but then, thanks to the IPF I went to Battle Back with my brother and my mum and it gave me a chance to try things I never thought I could.”
The Battle Back weekend in Lilleshall is part of the IPF’s Engage programme which aims to empower injured players, to break down personal barriers and to change perceptions of their abilities through involvement in physical or socially challenging activities.
And says Gary: “It helps to bring you out of your shell to open up and talk. It’s great getting together and although I was sceptical about trying mindfulness it was really positive.”
What Gary also discovered was a love of archery. “The kind of events and activities the IPF is now providing is certainly inspiring all of us to do more, to try new things.
“I enjoyed the powerchair football and particularly the archery and when I got home I started looking for an archery club. One said they couldn’t accommodate my needs, another is closed in school holidays and then I found Crystal Palace Bowmen.
“They were keen to help and really supportive. The club secretary has even made a prototype frame to mount my bow.
“I never thought I’d be able to get involved with archery,” says the former tight-head prop. “But you never know what you can do until you try and the IPF and Battle Back gave me that opportunity. I’m looking forward to getting more involved.”