Paralysed former rugby player backs DMU's inclusivity record

Paralysed former rugby player Matt Hampson opened up about his own dyslexia issues when he spoke at an event celebrating De Montfort University Leicester’s strong record on social inclusivity.

The inspirational former Leicester Tigers and England Under-21 prop, who was paralysed from the neck down from a rugby injury in March 2005, was keynote speaker at the event.

MattHampson

It was held to celebrate and thank the DMU welfare teams after it was named the first ever University of the Year for Social Inclusion by The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019 in recognition of its commitment to diversity, its teaching excellence and the success of its students in exams and graduate job prospects.

Praising the way DMU works to include students from all walks of life and backgrounds and with a range of disabilities or learning difficulties, Matt said: “It’s massively important for young people to be part of a group, so that they can talk to each other and bounce ideas off each other.

“When you’re in a wheelchair, or have learning difficulties, or whatever it might be, it’s very difficult to talk about it to someone who has not been through it themselves.

“I personally feel there are some disabled people who feel like the world somehow owes them a favour. It’s massively important to get out and show them that you can live fulfilling lives.”

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Having heard one student who has Asperger’s syndrome describe at yesterday’s event how the DMU teams had helped her thrive in her first few months at university, Matt revealed how he has been hampered all his life by dyslexia.

“Dyslexia is a part of my life that I don’t often talk about much,” he explained. “My disability is quite widely reported but my dyslexia isn’t.”

Matt suffered his life-changing injury when a scrum collapsed during a training session for England Under-21s nearly 14 years ago.

He described how, on his first night back home after 17 months in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, he decided he could make a difference to other people’s lives.

A few years later he set up the Matt Hampson Foundation and has devoted his time to providing support and assistance to others who have suffered catastrophic injuries through sport.


In October, his ‘dream’ £1million Get Busy Living Centre was officially opened. The disused former aircraft hangar in Burrough on the Hill near Melton was converted into a state-of-the-art two-storey complex which offers physical rehabilitation as well as social and mental support.

Matt will also be mentoring DMU students in the new year, inviting some to visit the new centre.

Posted on Wednesday 19th December 2018

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