Vikings Wheelchair Basketball
I have been part of Vikings for about 7 years after I discovered the sport during a taster day from school and I decided I wanted to start playing. I didn’t even know about them and they trained and played their home matches near my home. After a few stops and starts from going it didn’t take me long to be a permanent Vikings team/family member.

I was a very shy person with low self-esteem and had very little confidence so didn’t have a lot of friends. Because of this my family was surprised how much I wanted to be involved at playing wheelchair basketball. This was a big step and one I am now pleased I took as I've not only gained a sport I love but friends of all ages, people I can chat to about anything as well as basketball.
I have special/medical needs one of which is a tracheostomy, this is to help me breath as I have a problem with my lungs. Keeping fit and active makes a big difference to helping my breathing.  with tracheostomy I have limited speech, like whispered talking but everyone at Vikings accepted me and welcomed me without fuss. We even joke about it sometimes now which shows how comfortable I feel in their surroundings.

My mum says since I’ve been part of the Vikings family she has seen me grow into a happy young outgoing person with a lot more confidence a lot of friends. This has helped me personally and my family also which is another reason Vikings has changed our lives for the better.
My mum has also made some great friends at the club which has given her an opportunity to come along and have a good laugh whilst I train. Mum (Gill) has become involved helping out at training sessions, being on the committee and helping at matches especially with the catering which is quite funny as I can’t eat any of it !

I've played in the BWB national league 3rd division and the development team in the 4th division. This has allowed me to develop my skills within the sport and as a result of this I was selected to represent the North West under 19s team at the Lord’s Taverners Junior Championships in Worcester in 2016. I was so pleased as it was my last chance to play as a junior. We didn’t come home with a medal but I was still really pleased to be part of the team and wow was it hard work. As well as parents and family some of the Vikings team mates came along to support the North West which was great. Their was also some GB players their including Abdi Jama who is not only a Paralympian but he played for Vikings before going to play abroad. He trained with us a few days before flying out to this years Paralympics in Rio and it was brilliant to have his support.















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I have improved a lot as a player thanks to the coaches putting time in to help me and we are playing in the national league once more after having to take a year out. It's fantastic to be back competing and as a team with a number of young players we are improving and enjoying being wheelchair basketball athletes.
​​It does take quite a lot of commitment
travelling around the country to play in the national league and training too but I can’t imagine my life without Vikings in it. We’re always looking for support and sponsorship to make sure we can continue helping people like me for many years to come.
If you get chance please come and support us at our home games at Lansbury Bridge School, Lansbury Avenue, Ste Helens. You can look at our website for the fixtures and check out Facebook and Twitter. 

We can’t thank Sue and all the Vikings enough for the help and support that we have received and the opportunities that I have been given to become my own person.
I am proud to be a viking!

Joe Matthews​​
Joe Matthews