How to use a setback to fuel your dreams

“Whilst representing Great Britain at the London Paralympics in 2012, in truth I never realised how much hard work I had put in over the years to create the opportunity.”

If you have a dream, don’t ever let go of it and believe that it WILL become a reality.

GUEST WRITER: Blair Glynn, Great Britain Paralympian Footballer

I write my story to hopefully inspire you to show you that hard times and setbacks (in football and life) don’t have to define you, you don’t have to let them be you.

I know this having been given only a 30% chance of survival by a hospital nurse.

If I can help just one person writing this. Job done.

Let me explain,

it was a typical Saturday morning for an 11 year old, well so I thought, up at 7 am made my breakfast and had fought with my brother, all before 830am.

I went got changed, not a care in the world and the door goes. It’s my friend, ‘mum am going out’ I shouted.
‘Where are you going?’ she replies
‘The park!’
I slammed the door shut.
Who knew what was going to happen next?

The sun was shining bright and it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day.

I ran up onto the climbing frame jumped up on the third monkey bar and across to the fifth without thinking, it was great!

I then jumped on the springy thing in the shape of an elephant and a motorbike and bang!

It happened!
My life changed forever!

The vain in the left-hand side of my neck closed over for less than a second. Stopped the blood getting to my brain for less than a second.

I had suffered a stroke.

Next thing I heard my friend shouting ‘Blair, Blair are you ok?’

I wasn’t able to answer him. I couldn’t speak.

‘I am away to get your mum’ he said

That was the last thing I remember for a good few minutes.

Next thing I know I was lying on my belly, when I looked up I saw my mum and my friend.

I can’t remember much of crossing the grass or even going up the stairs into my house.

The next thing I remember was seeing my uncle, he came in and asked me what I have been up to.
I looked at him, laughed and fell over to my right-hand side.

I can remember coming in an out of consciousness, my mum was crying whilst my uncle was talking. I am told my aunt and the doctor were there but I honestly can’t remember them being there.

The next thing I can remember is being towed out to the ambulance.

I woke up laughing then fell back out of consciousness.

In the ambulance, my mum was crying saying stay awake Blair, but again I went back out of consciousness. This must have happened at least three to four times.

I got to the hospital and can remember this like it was yesterday,

My dad opened the door of the ambulance and he said with a smile on his face “what have you done.”
Then I was out!

I can’t remember much of being in intensive care.
I’m not sure I want to, to be honest.
Again in and out of consciousness but one thing was always the same.

My dad was there. He was off his work for weeks and weeks.
He just sat at my bedside awake or sleeping he was there.
He was right next to me the whole way through, he still is.

My mum and my brother Steven, I don’t know what they went through?
Frustration, sadness and anger I guess. I can’t thank both of them enough.

The next thing I can remember was getting moved out of intensive care.
This was the start of me getting better.

The new me!

I was given speech therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy for five out of the seven days. I also had a teacher as I had forgotten everything I had learned.

It was hard, it was was painful and it was intensive, but it was worth it.

I started to re-learn things that I knew before and it started to get easier.

I started to speak again. Once I got a few words out it got easier and easier.

One day I was asked what I would like for my breakfast. I had the choice of three things, cornflakes, weetabix or porridge.

I wanted fish!  I couldn’t say anything but fish. Everyone including the nurse was laughing and I think that helped me get over it.

If I made a mistake I knew I could laugh at it with the people I had around me. They were a big help.

The whole family, all ready to laugh with me or help me.

After a few weeks of being awake my parents asked to get me home for the weekends.

I was allowed home.

Three things stand out in my memory from being at home for the weekends.

1. I kept on being sick out of my uncle Pats car on the way home at Arthur’s seat. How did we stop that? We stopped going past Arthur’s seat!!
2. In the middle of the night I woke up, didn’t know where I was and I needed a pee. My mum and dad had set a potty up on a PlayStation box. I still couldn’t walk but I sat up in my bed got my legs around and started peeing. It went everywhere! My dad came into my room in the morning and stood on my pee soaked carpet.
3. Going walks with my cousins and painting for my brother Steven being in the gala. One walk I went on was with my cousins David and Joleen. We were away for hours and hours. My mum started to worry, as you do. She asked my dad to go out and look for us. He came home laughing. He said we were at going down hills with Joleen and David on the back of my wheelchair.

Back at the hospital, it was back to the hard work.

One of the best moments was when I could walk for the first time. I walked up to my mum and dad.

It felt great. I was walking again.

I felt if I can walk again I can do anything again.

It wasn’t long before I was jogging and running again.

It was great I could run.

The doctors didn’t give me much of a chance of surviving.

I knew this and I wanted to prove them wrong. I have kept proving everyone wrong and I love it when someone says I CAN’T!!

I got most of the power back in my arm although it’s still not 100%, it’s what makes me me.

But I feel like someone was smiling down on me and I am glad because I love the life I have just now and it can only get better from where I am standing.

Since I have been in the hospital my life changed dramatically as you can guess.

At first, I wished I was invisible and didn’t want anyone to look at me.

Then I had a thought I don’t want to live the rest of my life like this.

Since that day I have spent some time living in America, meeting lots of great people who I still call friends today.

I have captained Scotland in the World Cup.

What an honour that was were for me, I loved every minute of it.

Whilst representing Great Britain at the London Paralympics in 2012, in truth I never realised how much hard work I had put in over the years to create that opportunity.

I have just completed tough mudder.

I have got an amazing wife with a gorgeous boy and I love the fact I can call them mine!

Can you see a trend develop here?

Everything I put my mind to I can compete at and it’s fu*&%ng brilliant.

I love people saying oh I can’t do this, you can’t do that …. you just watch me!

So enjoy yourself and just go out and love every minute of both football and life.

I try my hardest at whatever is in my way and I can get over it,  I am so sure if you put that thing between your ears to good use it can get you so so far in life.

If you have a dream, don’t ever let go of it and believe that it WILL become a reality.

Blair Glynn

I am so sure if you put that thing between your ears to good use it can get you so so far in life.

By John Johnstone 25th January 2019