Why support matters – The thoughts of a visually Impaired archer – By Deb Wright26th March 2021
I had to stop shooting In May 2019 due to severe pain in my left elbow and pins and needles then numbness in my pinky finger and the finger next to it on my left hand. By November 2019 I had Ulnar nerve release surgery at the Woodlands hospital, but more surgery was to come. a MRI and CT scan revealed I had a blown disc in my lower neck c6 to c7 so the Woodlands hospital carried out ACDF (Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion) surgery in March 2020 just before our first lockdown.
I was advised not to shoot for six months after my ACDF surgery to allow fusing of the natural healing bone, so I had a date to work towards to when I could potentially pick up my bow again and shoot some arrows. September 2020 couldn’t come quick enough. I did my daily physio exercises gradually building up to weight-bearing seemed to take a while but got up to a can of beans in each hand by August. I prepared at home using my Bow-trainer too, very useful to help me hold poundage daily.
By August, I started looking into the possibility of shooting, Boris put the kibosh on that happening with his second lockdown. Time to get the kit I needed to shoot at a lower poundage, so new limbs with a lower poundage rating, strings, nocks and arrows to match, all ordered online and delivered with only 1 lot of bent arrows arriving by courier & replaced Free of Charge.
Renewal time all done online ok and new cards received, ready to go just needed to set nock point on string and fire a few to check pressure button setting, but no one available to help me make the needed adjustments or a shooting venue to attend so time to find a new club and get some help getting back to shooting. Lockdowns, shielding, Christmas all came and went but still no arrows shot yet and new year is nearly here.
A ray of hope was offered by Helen Sharpe, the possibility of a shooting venue for me and help too, what a lift this was to hear. Under the disabled archer exemption I was going to be able to shoot at Aim4Sport and met Dave Leader there on my first session. So had a date set, Helen acting as my agent, escort and driver collected me and our journey started.
Late January I got to shoot my first 60 arrows in 20 months, It felt so good. Was not going to be able to tune just yet due to freezing fingertips but could guess at where to aim to get on the gold. Picked a sight setting, the first arrow went under the target, made an adjustment, the second arrow hit the bottom of the boss, by the sixth arrow was nearly on the gold. What a lift that was for me, all those months of worry i.e. will I be able to pull the poundage without hurting myself. All fears put aside, I calmed myself down with a cup of camomile tea and had a sandwich, decided 60 arrows was enough for my first session packed up and dozed off in the car on the way home.
With the continued support of Dave and Helen I am able to continue to improve upon my scores and partake in the sport I love, can’t thank you guys enough for all you have done for me, I think you are great.