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Student inspired by sporting chance after road accident

A De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) student who sustained brain injuries in a road traffic accident has discovered a love of rowing thanks to an event held for Disability Awareness Day.

Warren Luyt, who studies Project Management MSc, was left weakened down the left side of his body as a result of the accident in 2008. He also has deviation in his left eye and struggles with balance and control of his fingers .

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But after the 29-year-old visited DMU’s Watershed Facility last week, he tried for the firs time one of the many sporting activities on offer to students and staff throughout the day; Adaptive Rowing.

Warren said: “When I received the invite via email to the Disability Awareness Day, my eyes lit up and I was like right, it’s time to go.

“I had a go at the Adaptive Rowing, something I’d been looking at doing for quite some time.

“I wasn’t aware that DMU had this kind of facility available for students and I hope that this kind of inclusive programme can continue for students to get involved with and help them learn about disability.”

The event was orgainsed by De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) and other sporting activities which took place were: Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Rugby, Boccia and Sitting Volleyball.

Louise Cunliffe; Disabled Student’s Representative who organised the event said: “The aim of this event was to raise more awareness of disability at the university giving people a chance to experience what it is like to have a disability.

“People who have taken part in the event have said that it is powerful and has had an impact on their perceptions.

“I firmly believe it has influenced people’s opinion and will have an effect on their behaviours inside and outside of the university.”

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Louise was based at DSU throughout the day and was joined by DMU’s Disability Advice and Support Team to talk to visitors and help raise the awareness.

Simulation activities were also on offer to give people an idea of what it is like to be profoundly deaf and to also have autism.

Asked if she would do an event like this again, Louise said: “I wouldn’t think twice.”

DMU signed a new Equality and Diversity Charter, #DMUfreedom, earlier this year, and made a renewed pledge to support students with autism by signing the Autism Alliance Charter over the summer. This is just one of a number of ways DMU is working to enhance the student experience for all.

Warren, who studied Music Technology BSc at DMU, said: “I have nothing bad to say about the student experience at DMU, I think it’s fantastic.

“The Vice-Chancellor has revolutionised the university. Just the other day I was walking through campus and the regeneration is unrecognisable.

“I’d really encourage people to study at DMU, rather than searching for a big name university when you have this on your doorstep.”

Following the events, Vice Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard tweeted: “This gave me a real insight into how the world looks to somebody with autism- great event, well done @DSU_Disabled." 

Posted on Wednesday 16th November 2016

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