Laois man seized sporting chance to turn his life around

National Learning Network Portlaoise and Laois Sports Partnership open doors for Mountmellick man

Leinster Express Reporter

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Laois sport

Sean accepts a wheelchair hurling trophy from former GAA president John Horan

The team at the National Learning Network in Portlaoise are delighted for a former student who has used sport to overcome a life change disability caused by a workplace accident

Sean Bennett is a former Employer Based Training (EBT) student of the centre on Portlaoise's Dublin Road.

Sean explains his amazing story of recovery and how sport played a big part in his recovery from a life-changing accident after the NLN and Laois Sports Partnership opened the door to the possibility that he could compete.

“I had a serious industrial accident and lost my left leg as a result. I had suddenly gone from a very active family man to a wheelchair user.

“I struggled with serious mental health issues whilst my whole world fell apart.

“ I came across an advert for National Learning Network and decided to reach out. I quickly signed up to their EBT programme. Everything changed for me, suddenly in my 50s, I was completing modules, I had a work placement with a local butcher and I was out of the house, meeting new people, linking in with fellow students and trying new things,” he said.

One of those new things was sport.

“My course instructor introduced me to Laois Sports Partnership and now I was getting physically fit, especially enjoyed the tandem cycling.

“Gareth there suggested I try wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby and then I moved to wheelchair hurling with the GAA and sponsored by M Donnelly.

“Sports I never knew were open to people like me and here I was taking part, included and enjoying every minute of it.

“I went on to win the Leinster All-Star Trophy in 2018.

“I was also chosen to represent Ireland in wheelchair floorball in Holland in 2019 and have 3 international caps representing my country in this event,” he said.

Sean thanked the people on the Network and the partnership for getting the ball rolling on a whole new life in the world of sport.

“Thank you to all at NLN and LSP for all your encouragement and support in helping me embrace my new way of life and opening up my world to all these new opportunities,” said Sean.