Connor Lynes from Hull was part of the England Physical Disability Rugby League team who won the PDRL World Cup in 2022, beating New Zealand in the final. On World Stroke Day 2023 Connor tells Active Humber how stroke has affected his life and how important physical activity and rugby league has been to him in his recovery.
“I was 15 years old when I had my first stroke and I've had a further two since. I've been lucky as they said I wouldn't survive the first stroke as it was a rare Basilar artery thrombosis. The basilar artery controls everything we need to live including breathing, the heart and blood pressure as well as providing blood to the brain. Mine was totally blocked, so they did a thrombectomy to remove the clot, which was partly successful. However, I still have the remainder of the clot which was deemed too risky to remove, so as long as I'm stable it's still there.
I live with numbness and weakness to my right side and constant vertigo and headaches. After my strokes I was diagnosed with PTSD, non-epileptic attack disorder, Tourette’s, chronic fatigue syndrome and I’ve recently been diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder. This is a condition where my brain struggles to send signals to my nerves, resulting in paralysis and numbness.
Despite my battles I'm here and I'm fighting. My self-belief, my family and rugby have got me through some very dark times. Stroke changes lives, not just of the person who has one but their family and friends too.
I've spent a lot of time supporting and raising funds for brain injury and stroke charities and I aim to continue this work going forward. I started raising awareness because when I had my first stroke there wasn't much support for children and families who were struggling. My aim was and still is to raise awareness of strokes in children and to let people know kids have strokes too.”
PDRL gives people with physical disabilities the opportunity to participate in Rugby League. If you are inspired by Connor’s story and want to give PDRL a go then contact Liam Waslin at Hull KR Foundation at: email@example.com