BC2 Team Boccia player
The 21-year-old from Larne is the first-ever person from Northern Ireland to represent her country in boccia at the Paralympics. This is even more impressive when you consider the young athlete was only classified as a BC2 boccia player in 2014.
In two and half short years Claire has already won four Team BC1/BC2 medals at international level. These include silver at the official Test Event for the Paralympic Games and another silver at the World Open in Povoa.
She attributes her recent performance in part to her DM Orthotics socks and shoulder orthosis, which she wears every day, and her DM Orthotics glove which she wears whenever she’s not throwing. “I’ve used the socks for a year now and they’re great,” she says. “They help straighten my feet, give me a more stable base on my footplate from which to push off from when I throw and are brilliant at stimulating my poor circulation.”
Worn daily since April 2016, the glove and shoulder orthosis are more recent additions. “The glove reduces my left hand from bending into such a claw-like position and I’ve already seen great benefits from my shoulder orthosis,” Claire explains. “I hadn’t realised how far forward I held my shoulder, which led to poor posture. The orthosis encourages me to sit straighter and engage my core, and reduces my arm from being so tucked in, which all helps with targeting.”
Fully able-bodied till 16, Claire was diagnosed with Dystonia five years ago, a condition that contracts muscles in her body forcing them into fixed abnormal positions. “I was initially classified as BC4 for non-neurologcal-related impairments, which meant I really struggled because I was up against people who don’t have the spasms and spasticity that I do. Since my reclassification as a BC2 athlete I haven’t looked back.”