BC3 Team Boccia player
One of six Scots to head to Rio in the 10-strong boccia team, Patrick Wilson continues Scotland’s grand tradition of producing champion hotshots. Crowned Scottish Champ in 2012, the 20-year-old soon progressed to international competition where he has notched up many BC3 pair and individual medals, and made the quarter finals at his Paralympic debut in Rio.
“Last year I was ranked 20th in the world and this year I’m 8th and I think my DM Orthotics suit has had a big influence on that,” says Patrick, who has been wearing the suit every day for the past 18 months. The suit was introduced as part of the medical management of his kypho-scoliosis to reduce deterioration and prevent the need for a spinal fusion, which would significantly influence his functional ability.
Patrick has Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy, which affects all four limbs and trunk and means he has to contend with uncontrolled movements and fluctuating tone in a game where accuracy is paramount. “It’s important I get the middle of the ball every time to make it go where I want it to go,” explains Patrick, who uses a head pointer to push the ball down a ramp and into the field of play. “My suit helps me to maintain my posture while I am playing.”
Since wearing the suit, Patrick has seen a huge transformation in his posture. “It’s ridiculous the difference the suit has made,” he says. “I used to be sat very bent over. Now my normal position is the same as when I was trying my very hardest to sit up before I wore the suit. It’s really helped my game but its impact goes far beyond sport. I feel more confident when talking to people. I feel more confident generally.”
Patrick is also a big fan of his DMO socks, a more recent addition to help with his foot position and increase his awareness of where they are. “My feet are quite mangled and my toes are all bent underneath my feet,” says Patrick. “The compression in the socks helps to lessen tone and straighten and align them, making them feel more comfortable.”
With each small improvement Patrick’s confidence grows and makes him more hopeful for the future. “The plan was to go to uni, but boccia came along and I felt I couldn’t do both so I had to pick one,” recalls Patrick. “I don’t think I’ve finished learning yet but I’ll see how it goes.” We have a feeling Patrick’s Paralympic debut is only the beginning.