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EDWARDS Darren
Sport Para cross-country
NPC Great Britain   
GenderMen
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Type of Impairment
Spinal Cord Injuries
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
LW10
Further Personal Information
Residence
Shrewsbury, ENG
Occupation
Athlete, Human Resources, Motivational Speaker
Languages
English
Higher education
History - University of Westminster: London, ENG
Sport Specific Information
Club / Team
Armed Forces Para-Snowsports: Great Britain
General Interest
Impairment
In 2016 he fell while rock climbing in Llangollen, Wales, landing on his back. He sustained spinal cord injuries that resulted in paralysis from the chest down. "I was rock climbing when my rope gave way and I plummeted to the ground. As soon as I landed I knew that I was in a bad way, breaking my back in the process of landing on the cliff edge." He underwent five months of rehabilitation and was told he would not be able to walk again, but has since learned to walk again with the help of a robotic exoskeleton. (Facebook page, 29 Jan 2021; strengththroughadversity.co.uk, 07 Apr 2020; shropshirestar.com, 22 Jul 2019; oswestry.life, 08 Jul 2018)
Other information
PARA CANOEING
He took up kayaking three days after being discharged from hospital following his climbing accident. In 2017 he attended a British Canoeing talent identification day in Nottingham, England and was invited to join the development squad for Team GB's Para canoe programme. "From that moment on my life had new focus and my recovery a renewed purpose. [I got invited to the team] almost a year to the date of my accident. I'd unequivocally transformed my life for the better." In July 2021 he planned to be part of a team of four Para athletes aiming to kayak the length of Great Britain, travelling 1400 kilometers from Land's End in the south of England to John O'Groats in the north of Scotland. The team are aiming to raise over GBP100,000 for the Armed Forces Para-Snowsport Team charity. (kayak4heroes.co.uk, 09 May 2020; strengththroughadversity.co.uk, 12 Nov 2020)

ROBOTIC EXOSKELETON
While undergoing rehabilitation following his climbing accident he was given the opportunity to try a robotic exoskeleton that enabled him to stand and walk. "I remember thinking this would be life-changing. But these things were GBP80,000 so I was really just teasing myself with a carrot at that point that I could never afford." He wrote about his experience on his blog and was subsequently contacted by local businessman Paul Adorian, who wanted to buy him an exoskeleton. "I got a call from him [Adorian] and he had read my blog. He was coming to the end of his life and was in the position where he wanted to help people in some way with a pot of money he had. He had read that I had tried [the exoskeleton] and asked what I would say if I could get one and he offered to buy it. I didn't know what to say. In the space of a month he had changed my life. It's difficult learning to walk again and it is perhaps the toughest challenge of the recovery. It's been slow progress and I'm still in training but I can now [2019] stand up again without feeling like I'm going to pass out." (shropshirestar.com, 22 Jun 2019)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
While he was in hospital he wrote about his injury and shared his story on his blog titled 'Strength Through Adversity'. The blog developed into a charity that aims to improve opportunities for Para athletes in his local area. He is also a motivational speaker and works as a business partner for a human resources company. (strengththroughadversity.co.uk, 12 Nov 2020; LinkedIn profile, 25 Jan 2021)

Competition Highlights (historical)
There are no major results available for this athlete.