The chance to play for England was the turning point in James’ life to allow him to embrace his disability.
James Blackwell appears in the new ‘For All’ campaign alongside Casey Stone, the Lionesses star. “For all” was launched with two short films and a series of case studies to create greater awareness of The FA’s role, demonstrating in particular its work with women and disabled people.
James explains that he told people the Doctor’s had broken his thumb when he was born and that was the reason he sometimes had problems. His Fiancé also didn’t know the extent of his disability for seven years, only thinking he had some slight nerve damage.
Whilst playing for Kingswood in his local county league in Gloucestershire, James came up against CP player Ibs Diallo. After realising he would be eligible for the CP squad, James got in touch with the FA, who told him about the routes to an elite level.
The realisation of being able to play football at an elite level for the CP squad gave James the confidence to tell people about his disability, to embrace it and to share his story.
He is now preparing for September’s trip to South America where the World CP Championships are being held in Argentina.
“That’s something which I would never have imagined being involved with before I got in touch with The FA about disability football.
“We train once a month at St. George’s Park at the moment and that’s a great part of being involved in international football, being able to go there and work on the same pitches and unbelievable facilities as the senior team.
“Sometimes the seniors and U21s are at the same time and we’re all working and training on the same sort of surfaces.” James told the FA.
“I always thought people would have a negative view of disability football, that it wouldn’t be a very good standard, but I wanted to find out more about it,
“I got in contact with The FA and it’s gone on from there really.”
The Team head to San Luis in Argentina for the World Championship between September 3 and 22.
Written by April Foster
Credit: The FA