Mark Ridley: The Story So Far
After a serious motorcycle accident in 2014, Mark began engaging with Saints Foundation to help deal with his injuries. Now four years on, his story continues to progress…
Overcoming the trauma of a serious accident is something many people face, and after Mark Ridley, 29, was left with paralysation on his left hand side and a brain injury after a serious motorcycle accident in 2014, he found solace through Saints Foundation.
He began engaging in the Foundation’s Pan Disability League, and from there he has gone from strength to strength, including captaining a Southampton FC representative team in an international disability tournament in Vienna, in June 2017.
“Since Austria in 2017 I have continued engaging with the Foundation’s Elite Disability team as their captain,” Mark said. “I have also started helping with the coaching side of the game, as this is something I would like to do in the future within the Foundation.”
As well as struggling to deal with the impact of his numerous injuries after his accident, Mark also had to deal with severe mental health issues.
“Over the last year I have noticed a few changes, most notably my personal fitness and mental wellbeing, which has hugely improved. I’ve lost two stone in five months and I’m feeling mentally fitter and stronger too.”
“Since we travelled to Vienna I have also been shortlisted for two awards in the local area, and I was delighted to win Disability Sportsperson of the Year at the Eastleigh Sport Awards.”
“I was also recently invited to St Georges Park to play in front of the England CP team, and had the opportunity to talk about my experiences with Saints Foundation on Voice FM, all of which has helped massively with my self-confidence and self-belief.”
Now Mark’s attention is firmly fixed on May, when he will be returning to Vienna as part of Saints Foundation’s Elite Disability team to once again take part in Rapid Vienna’s international disability tournament.
“Personally, I’m really looking forward to getting back out to Austria. I want to get back out there and show what this Saints team can really do now, as we have had time to build a strong team ethos.”
The Foundation will be taking two teams to compete in the tournament in Vienna as part of its ongoing commitment to provide inclusivity and opportunities for all participants on the disability programme.
Mark’s team will be competing in the Elite Tournament, and will be looking to build on last year’s 5th place finish, which is something he sees as being entirely achievable.
“It was a complete honour to lead the guys on the pitch last year, and something I hope to do in Austria again this year. I know that every man has that fight in his heart and wants to win, and I think I can push the guys to more success.”
“We truly have a great opportunity in pushing this team right to the finals; we could really do well this year, and hopefully bring back some deserved silverware to our Club.”
To find out more about Saints Foundation’s SaintsAbility programme, please contact Rob Pearce at firstname.lastname@example.org.