British Para-Athlete Kylie Grimes tells us all about how sport helped her following her life-changing accident and how she believes anyone can be active, not to mention her love for chocolate and cheese!
Photographed by Michaela Greene
Today marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This day aims to promote disability inclusion and the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society. It is also central to the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – to leave no one behind. The notion of ‘leaving no one behind’ mirrors our own ethos here at The Mason Foundation. We believe exercise is something that is accessible to all, regardless of ability or disability, and we provide a simple solution – for people to do ‘Their Mile, Their Way’!
In light of this, we have spoken to the incredibly inspirational Kylie Grimes, someone that epitomises resilience and shows us that there are no barriers for taking part in physical activity – only the ones we put there ourselves. In 2006, Kylie sustained a life-changing spinal injury from a swimming pool accident, however, she was determined to not allow her injury to stop her doing sport. Kylie is now a double Paralympian that has competed for GB in both wheelchair rugby and athletics and is presently training for the Tokyo 2021 Paralympics. We have asked Kylie a few questions to find out a bit more about her and how she benefits from keeping active!
How did your involvement with sport following your accident help you?
After my accident I knew I had to get straight back into sports, not only for the health benefits and to get physically strong again but because of the social aspect and being around people. It really helped me to focus on something and work towards a goal.
How do you feel being regularly active benefits your overall wellbeing day to day?
Being regularly active massively helps my overall well-being every day because it challenges my body and keeps my mind calm and focused. I can then concentrate on daily tasks better too and general life.
What would you say to someone who might be in a similar position to what you were that believes being involved in sport is out of their reach?
I would tell anyone that believes sport is out of their reach to just go and give it a try. Find a local club to you and believe me you will feel the benefits from one training session with likeminded people.
With your busy training schedule for next year’s Tokyo Paralympics, what would you say helps to motivate you on your tougher days?
On my tougher days when I’m feeling like I don’t really want to train, I meditate for 10mins, eat some good food and sometimes watch something to inspire me. Then I’m ready to go and train, I always feel better afterwards.
Do you believe that anyone can enjoy sports and the benefits of being active?
I believe everyone, of any ability can enjoy sports and being active. The power of sports is huge and what it can do for your mind, confidence and general life day to day is amazing. It honestly helps everything.
What are your plans following the Tokyo games and how will you stay involved with sport?
I’m not actually sure on my plans after Tokyo yet, but definitely still play sports and hopefully more speaking engagements to get people motivated and to change perceptions on people with disability in sport and life.
When you’re not training or playing sport, how do you relax and have fun?
When I’m not training or playing sports, I love walking my dogs in the country, binge watching a Netflix series eating a bag of minstrels or going to music concerts. But my biggest passion when I have a spare couple of weeks is travelling and seeing new places. My favourite countries are Cambodia and South Africa.
What is your favourite go to snack?
I absolutely love chocolate and cheese. Every type of both but not together!!
We would like to thank Kylie for sharing these answers with us and giving us some insight into the life of a successful Paralympian! We wish her all the luck for Tokyo 2021, and if anyone would like to follow her journey, go visit her Instagram or Twitter here.