Paralympian has a new quality of life

Stephen McGuire competing at the London 2012 Games. Credit: Getty Images
Stephen McGuire competing at the London 2012 Games. Credit: Getty Images

For years Stephen McGuire could play football and run around, but he was living with an undiagnosed condition that started to catch up with him.

Stephen had the degenerative disease Muscular Dystrophy and over time slowly dropped behind his peers until he could no longer keep up when playing sports. His manoeuvrability suffered and by the age of 16 was in a wheelchair.

He said: “At the beginning I was trying to do everything I used to be able to do but then you just reach a stage where you realise you can do more with a wheelchair and that was when I stopped fighting it.

“Since then I found I had more freedom and ability, in fact it was a relief getting into a wheelchair and it was also safer as I wasn’t falling anymore.”

Stephen’s always had a passion for sport and in 2004 while watching Boccia athletes compete at the Paralympic Games in Athens he decided to try the sport for himself.

Now an 11-year veteran he has been named the most successful British BC4 Boccia athlete becoming a seven-time Scottish champion, a nine-time British champion and earlier this year, World champion.

Boccia is a precision ball sport, similar to French boules, it is played by wheelchair users in various categories depending on disability.

Stephen has just returned from competing in his second Paralympic Games,and although he finished outside the medals, getting to Rio was triumph enough.

He said: “My main focus for the last four years was getting to Rio, being selected was a huge deal for me.

“Ten years ago I had the pleasure of playing on Copacabana beach so being able to go back was a great feeling.”

Stephen underwent reconstructive surgery on his hip and was in desperate need of a wheelchair with a rising function.

Happily the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign stepped in to help fund his new Ottobock B600.

Stephen said: “My wheelchair dealer was just fantastic. They let my try different chairs until I found the one for me.

“I have more freedom due to the riser function and because it tilts I no longer need assistance when transferring, which has made a real differecne to my quality of life.