At the age of 5yrs, Lewis's biggest achievement was that he had learnt to ride his bike without stabilisers. He was an average kid. 7 years on Lewis has achieved so much getting to the finals of the National Junior League for Vikings u15's junior team which he continues to play for, Let's go Viking Hoglets!
He was selected to Play for the North West Region in the LT National Junior Championships at Stoke Mandeville winning Gold in 2014, then again winning Gold at the LT National Junior Championships for North West 2015. This year he played a vital role to secure a Bronze medal at the same competition scoring 2 free throws with a few seconds to go. Pretty much well above an average kids achievements I must admit.
A few weeks after his 5th birthday, Lewis was in a car accident and our world was turned upside down. He sustained a Spinal Cord Injury and was permanently paralysed from his waist down. Lewis spent five months in hospital surrounded by adults at the spinal Injury Unit at Southport. Something amazing happened. Steve Rimmer a coach from The Vikings came to see us on the unit and introduced Lewis to the sport 'Wheelchair Basketball' and to Sue the team coach. Lewis thrived, he almost instantly fitted in to the Vikings team. We would take him to weekly training sessions from the hospital, the support from everyone, emotionally helped us as parents adapt to this whole new life we had stumbled upon. We feel we have an army of support behind us and if ever we are worried about anything regarding Lewis's health or any disability related issues, well we have an expert advice panel a phone call away.
Lewis absolutely loves being part of the Vikings, he competed for them in the u15's junior league from age 10 and now u18's. He has grown from a shy little boy into a confident and proud lad. Lewis is now in Secondary School, he is going to a sports college where he says he "can show them his skills". Lewis's disability is not and never has been an embarrassment to him in fact it has opened opportunities to him and us that we didn't know existed. He watches the older lads and girls at The Vikings and has started staying to train with them which he absolutely loves and it has helped him develop so much as a player. He sees those who have turned professional and his ambition is to be like them. His aim is to play at the Paralympics and be a professional Basketball player, he tells everyone he meets that this is what he is going to be and we believe it will happen. He was invited to trials with the GB u22's squad and had a great time which also resulted in good feedback to go forward. He looks forwards to training with the team in the future.
Lewis now plays in the national league and wears his Vikings vest with pride. At 14 he is one of the youngest players in the team but that doesn't stop him being one of the go to players. He isn't too phased as he just listens to his coaches and players and works hard.
Everyone has to have dreams and goals and Vikings helps create those no matter how big or small. Vikings coaches and club ambassadors believe that Lewis has the ability to be a Paralympian if he continues to work hard both on court and at school which is great to hear.
Lewis's younger sister Rachel recently started training with the younger of the Vikings and she enjoys it too. It really is a great family club and Lewis is proud to be a viking and we are proud he is a Viking!
The Craddocks are Proud to be Vikings!