Alistair Haigh is our AT Ambassador at access: technology. He is also a powerchair footballer at Teeside PFC and competes in the national premiership league. Al previously played for Leeds PFC, which is the team access: technology are proud to sponsor.

Leeds PFC celebrated their 10 year anniversary in October 2022 by hosting a sponsors cup where the team got to have a go playing powerchair football!

Luckily, we had a powerchair football professional on the team (Al) which was certainly very helpful as we hopelessly crashed into each other and whacked the ball out the game. Unfortunately we didn’t win, but we had a lot of fun and will be ready next time!

Keep scrolling to read how Al got into powerchair football and the benefits it brings to his life…

Having cerebral palsy (CP) makes life difficult for me. Seeing all of my friends being independent and doing loads of different things was difficult for me as I was growing up because there wasn’t really anything I could participate in and compete in. That was until I discovered powerchair football. Powerchair football has completely changed my life as it is one of the few powerchair sports that exist and it means that I can compete at a high level against other people with disabilities. I am not able to push myself in a manual wheelchair which is what most disability sports require which is why I fell in love with powerchair football.

I started playing powerchair football in 2013 and I started playing as a fun hobby but what it has turned into is something that I did not expect. I’ve gone from training once a week and treating the sport as a social activity to playing in the top league in the country which is the premiership. I started playing at Leeds Powerchair Football Club (LPFC) and was there until the start of 2022 when I decided to begin a new chapter with Teesside PFC (TPFC). TPFC play in the same leagues as LPFC so everything was relatively familiar for me which was a positive. We currently play in the North East regional league, the West Midlands regional league and the national premiership league. The national premiership league contains the top 12 teams in the country so being able to play in that league is not something that many players get to do.

Aside from playing the actual game, powerchair football has helped me as a person as well. The sport has really helped to develop me as I’ve grown up as it has helped with a variety of things such as my confidence. I wasn’t a very confident person when I was growing up but having a team that I see and train with often has really helped with that. The sport requires good communication as you progress through the tiers of leagues so having to talk to your teammates does increase your confidence without you even realising it.

The sport isn’t competitive all of the time and can lead to some fun moments. As access: technology is one of the sponsors of LPFC, and the team was invited to LPFC’s first-ever sponsors cup. The team was very excited about this day and it didn’t disappoint! Having able-bodied people jump into a powerchair and having a go at the sport proves that the sport is much easier than it looks! Unfortunately, the team ended up losing the sponsors cup 1-0 in a tight game. The team are definitely looking forward to trying to claim the trophy at the next sponsors cup event.