Wheelchair rugby league changed my life, says James Simpson

Drew Darbyshire

World Cup 2021 ambassador James Simpson has talked about the impact of rugby league after losing both legs while he was serving in Afghanistan.

The England and Leeds wheelchair player was just 23 when he lost his legs while serving the Army in Afghanistan.

Simpson found it hard at first to find a new direction in life after his time with the Army – but then he came across wheelchair rugby league.

He told Sky Sports’ Golden Point Podcast: “After getting injured in 2009, it was hard to find a direction and to find where I wanted to go in my life.

“Finding wheelchair rugby league has given my life such a new direction, a new aim, new goals and new targets.

“In the early days I didn’t think I’d go on to play for England, fly to Australia and represent my country – all I cared about was getting to the end of the corridor and walking outside and slowly those goals built up to new and bigger things.

“There are dark times. Times when I get frustrated when I attempt to do things and I’m like ‘why can’t I do this?’ but I learnt early on to sit back and take a breath and think ‘let me have a moment to get emotional and upset’ because I still need to deal with this so I can attack it afterwards.”

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