Goalkeeper with missing hand & forearm shares his story

Paul GK from Stevenage HC
Paul from Stevenage shares his story of how he overcame his fears and became a hockey goalkeeper 4 years ago. 

I joined Stevenage hockey and cricket club as a social member around 4 years ago. During the summer I watched the cricket and started chatting to other members who played hockey, I met Tom Conlon, a goalkeeper at the club. He was telling me about a hockey tour they do every year to Milton Keynes and asked me if I wanted to join. I said I'd never played hockey before and that I couldn't play out on pitch as I had no way of holding a stick. I have a loss of my right hand with part forearm missing. Tom suggested playing in goal and taping the stick to my arm and it all started from there.

I went to Milton Keynes festival and was feeling nervous, not knowing what to do but under Tom's coaching and enthusiasm, he kitted me up and soon as the game started I had so much fun! I loved it! That is when I said yes, goalkeeping is for me.

I started playing part time for a company team but there was no training. Then Stevenage hockey club started up a Flyerz section. I joined and met coach Claire Young who gave me one to one coaching on Sundays to build my skill levels. I soon picked it up and went on to join Stevenage men's 5th team. We had a great season so I went on to play summer league in which the captain of the men's 3 saw me play and asked if I wanted to play for him. 

That's when I went and saw my doctor to see about getting a prosthetic arm made for hockey. I went to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore and with their technical department we came up with a design which I could hold a goalie stick in my limb which could also detach itself in the event of a bad stick tackle. 

goalkeeper arm

I played for the 3s and we had a great season! We got promoted as league champions and I went on to receive the most improved player of the year, and this season we are sitting in 4th place and pushing for promotion again.

At the age of 56 I now wish I had taken up hockey much earlier in life. It's a great team sport and now my fitness level is second to none as I am training up to 3 times a week and playing up to 2 games a week (when we are short on keepers!)

I would say to any disabled person that there are no limits on what you can achieve.

We want to thank Paul for sharing his story with us. If you have been inspired to give goalkeeping a try you can find your nearest club here. If you want to develop your goal keeping knowledge find your nearest Integrating Goalkeepers workshop here