'Bionic Man' sets up wheelchair rugby team with Hull FC Foundation
HULL'S "Bionic Man" is helping to set up a new wheelchair rugby league team in Hull.
The Hull FC Foundation and Mike Swainger – the first man to get a bionic hand on the NHS – are putting together the scheme.
Mike, 34, says the games will be open to people of all ages and abilities – whether they are have a physical disability, a mental disability or are able-bodied.
Mike, of Sutton Park, said: "I went down to Stoke, because a charity called Limb Power was giving opportunities for people with artificial limbs to try sports.
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"The set-up down there and the people who were involved really inspired me, so I came back to Hull wanting to do something in the city.
"Being a fan of Hull FC and having a boyhood dream of playing for them, I approached them about setting up a wheelchair rugby league."
Mike is a famous face in the city after becoming the first person in the UK to be fitted with a bionic hand on the NHS.
Video: Mike Swainger demonstrates his bionic hand ...
Mike lost his right arm and leg after being hit by a train when he was 13. The accident happened in 1992, when he was playing with friends near a railway line.
He said: "At first I thought 'Why me?' I felt frustrated and I grieved for a while.
"But so much has happened since then. If I could go back and speak to my younger self, I would tell him 'It's going to be a battle and a challenge, but you love a challenge – don't dwell on the past, look forward to the future'."
Mike and the foundation's Grow The Game officer Danny Scott will be coaching wheelchair rugby league in the new year.
To launch the scheme, they spoke to youngsters at Wyke College in west Hull and let them have a practice on the specially designed sports wheelchairs.
Danny said: "The whole of Hull FC is very excited about this project.
"The important thing is that everyone can take part – whether they have a disability or not.
"We've done wheelchair games in the past but this is looking at setting up a competitive team as well as a group for new starters."