Canoeing is in Jonathan Riddell’s blood, and not even a life changing serious car accident, has stopped him passing on his love of the sport to others.
Almost two years ago Jonathan’s life changed forever when he was involved in a near fatal car accident in Guadeloupe in the Caribbean. He came round three days after the crash and came back to Scotland as soon as he could travel. Numerous tests and scans followed. Jonathan said, “I’ve seen countless doctors and specialists and there’s not even a specific name for my condition, head trauma, brain damage, it’s all pretty much the same thing.
“I still canoe but I can’t do water racing or marathons now so I’m really concentrating on coaching and helping other people to become coaches. The money from 2014 Communities has meant we’ve been able to buy three general boats that can be used by people who have a range of disabilities. We’ve never ever put any restrictions on anyone joining the club and it’s always been in my mind to help other people who face more barriers to taking up a sport.
“Since my accident I have so much more empathy for young people who have a brain injury. I think there’s a real gap for people who appear to be not so obviously affected by what has happened to them and seem to be getting on with their lives. But I know more than most that it can be a struggle and there’s a lot going on beneath the surface. That’s why I want to do my bit, however small, to help and possibly introduce them to something they grow to love as much as me.”
2014 Communities from the Big Lottery Fund is providing National Lottery funding and supporting the legacy of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, by encouraging people to take part or volunteer in sport or physical activity or use sport as a way to bring together people from different generations. Find out more about the programme here.