Harrogate man recovers from loss of leg to play international padel tournament 
Last updated Feb 3, 2024
Andrew (left) playing padel.

Harrogate businessman Andrew Simister has recovered from the loss of a leg to take part in an international padel tournament.

Disability Action Yorkshire trustee Andrew teamed up with son Max at the Inclusive Padel Tour competition in Milan last month.

The tour, which involves 60 disabled players across five nationalities, creates tournaments where people with and without disabilities can play together. 

Andrew suffered a broken back in a car accident and had his right leg amputated above the knee in 2022. 

Until the accident, he was a keen sportsman who had taken part in two marathons in New York, played cricket and coached a junior Beckwithshaw Saints football team. 

He was determined and continued to take part in sports after the accident with, as he describes – his “bionic leg”.

Andrew said:

“It was a fantastic weekend. It was incredible to be with so many other players ranging from amputees to wheelchair users.

“It’s the first time I’ve felt part of a community since my accident, and there’s a real sense of family and inclusion.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t get out of the group stages this time as the standard was really good.”

Andrew Simister playing padel

Andrew Simister in action

Andrew has exercised as much as possible since recovering from his injuries, and was introduced to padel tennis by friends. 

The Stray Ferret previously reported he was seeking other amputee padel players in June, 2023. He often plays at Harrogate Spa Tennis Club and praised coach Carolyn Rothwell for her advice and encouragement. 

His participation in the event came only months after discovering the existence of the tournament – and then contacting the organiser to become a competitor. 

Andrew is keen to highlight the impact disabilities have on mental as well as physical health. 

He said:

“Lying there, having my leg amputated, thinking my life was over and then accepting what happened and knowing I could recover. My leg had gone. I wasn’t going to die then and I knew it was going to be fine. I liken my situation to having an electric car. The destination is the same, but you have to plan your journey differently.”

“I was a victim of an accident, but I wasn’t going to be a victim.

“Recovery, and I spoke to a lot of people about it, is 20 percent physical and 80 percent mental.”

Andrew plans to travel to all remaining Inclusive Padel Tour tournaments this year with the final competitions taking place in Dubai and Nairobi, as well as continuing advocating for disabled people as part of Disability Action Yorkshire.  

Disability Action Yorkshire, which was established in 1937 and is based in Harrogate, provides services for the disabled to aid them in achieving their aspirations.

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