Cricket has been a part of John McIntear’s life for as long as he can remember. He’s played the sport for years and became an umpire seven years ago after a shoulder injury reduced his mobility. When he was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in 2018, he was determined to continue enjoying the game close to his heart. What’s more, he wanted to show that sport can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of their ability. Now, with his new powered wheelchair, John’s still part of the action and, unique! For as far as he’s aware, he’s the only cricket umpire using a powerchair on the cricket green.
When John was given his diagnosis two years ago, he made sure it didn’t stop him from enjoying his hobby. Supported by friends in the cricketing community, he discovered he could continue to umpire with the help of a powered wheelchair. John couldn’t stand for long periods of time but using a wheelchair meant he could stay on the cricket green, managing the game until the final whistle.
John explains: “I’d seen individuals using powered wheelchairs and that’s what made me think I could use one to umpire. I thought, what stops me doing that?”
Fundraising for his Future
John set about fundraising to raise the thousands needed to buy his own wheelchair. After months of hard work spreading the word in the wider community and getting radio and press on board, John was able to take delivery of his powerchair. He then contacted Motability who helped him decide on a suitable wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) to help transport him and his new wheelchair to cricket games. John opted for Allied Mobility’s roomy Ford Independence™ with some special adaptions to make it perfect for his needs.
The Only Umpire
John’s thrilled with his new wheelchair and mobility vehicle which help him continue enjoying his favourite sport for longer. Since taking delivery of his new wheels, John has been busier than ever. He’s been asked to umpire various cricket matches around the country, including youth matches and disabled matches. More than anything though, John hopes his story will give aspiring disabled sportspeople the confidence to find their own way of getting active and involved.
John concludes: “If you can’t play your sport, trying officiating instead. I want to inspire and encourage people who are disabled to go out and follow their dream.”