Bob O’Shea - Biography
Bob has had a long and successful career in wheelchair Rugby, spanning three decades. After breaking his neck, and suffering spinal cord injury, diving in to a swimming pool on his 28th birthday in 1988 he, like many others, spent months in rehabilitation. Within a year of being injured Bob was introduced to wheelchair sport at the Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Games. There he witnessed people, with similar disabilities, competing in a variety of different sports. Bob tried shooting, tennis, table tennis, wheelchair racing and field events. He recalls that he heard a lot of shouting and crashing from the sports hall and was amazed at what he saw. “There were these guy’s in Wheelchairs most who were paralyzed from the chest down like myself, bashing into each other and fighting for a ball”. This was Wheelchair Rugby, a team sport full of high energy, contact and camaraderie that excited and inspired him. The event he was witnessing was the National Championships, but at half time, during one game Bob was invited to get in a chair and have a go - he was hooked.
Since then Bob has done much for the sport and has held positions including GB Chairman, Vice Chairman, European President and Development Coach. He was also co-founder of the London Wheelchair Rugby Club, probably the biggest and best club team in Europe. In 25 years as a player he has achieved many honors for club and country, including a hatful of National Championships medals and European Trophy’s. He is a double Paralympian, competing in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 and captained the GB Team for 3 years.
Bob is passionate about promoting sport amongst all, being fully aware of the health and social benefits it can bring as well as part of the rehabilitation process. Bob would admit that he has never been the most naturally gifted sportsman but through his hard work and dedication he maintained his place in the GB team for 17 years. He believes that if you are determined and motivated enough to explore every avenue, you can aim high and achieve your goals. Through his presentations Bob can explain and explore these elements, which can be applied to everyday life whether in business or in a school environment.
Bob is now coach, vice chair and player for Stoke Mandeville Maulers Wheelchair Rugby team.