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My son the sports star
Adam Field

Since taking up wheelchair tennis just four years ago, Adam Field has become one of Britain's brightest young prospects.

Adam's father, Conrad, explains how sport has changed his son's life.

What was life like for Adam before he took up wheelchair tennis?
A few years ago, Adam didn't really have the confidence to do anything. He was always reliant on others and he never thought of playing outside.

Back then, we almost accepted that sport was something Adam would watch others do, not something we'd go and watch him do.

Can you tell us more about Adam's disability?
Adam has a condition called Dystrophic Dysplasia, which affects all his joints including the fingers. Because of this, Adam has put in a lot of hard work in modifying his serve.

Playing tennis helps Adam's condition enormously - it keeps him keep fit and improves his strength and mobility.

How did Adam get involved in the sport?
His school took him to the Calvert Trust, an organisation which specialises in outdoor activities for disabled people. It soon became obvious that Adam really enjoyed sport.

We saw a magazine advert about wheelchair tennis and got in touch with the British Tennis Foundation.

Our initial aim was give Adam a hobby he could do every now and then, but he became so dedicated that we were out playing almost every night.

How easy was it for him to get started?
The hardest part came right at the beginning - finding out about it and getting involved.

If you're an able-bodied child at school you're made to do sport, but if you're in a wheelchair and you say you can't do it, it's just accepted.

There's so much more they can do, and Adam is a perfect example.

How has wheelchair tennis changed Adam?
Adam is a completely changed person. To see him now - how fit, healthy and confident he is - makes us really proud.

There's a great social side to it as well. He regularly meets up with friends in the evening at tennis events, which he wouldn't really do at home.

What would your advice be to the parents of a disabled child?
Be proactive - your child is depending on you to do the work for them.

You've got to go out and find the opportunities. Once you start looking it tends to snowball.

It may be that the first sport they try isn't for them, but it starts the ball rolling. The main thing is to get as much information as possible.

I only wish we'd found tennis sooner. My biggest regret is that Adam didn't get involved until 1999 and not five or six years earlier.

There are long-term social benefits. Many players continue playing into their 50s having made life-long friends in the sport.
- Katy Hall, hockey coach


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