Former rugby player tells inspiring story that told pupils ‘to never give up’

Former rugby star Jimmy Gittins, who learned to walk again after breaking his neck in two places after a tackle went wrong, giving an inspirational talk at Outwood Grange Academy
Former rugby star Jimmy Gittins, who learned to walk again after breaking his neck in two places after a tackle went wrong, giving an inspirational talk at Outwood Grange Academy
0
Have your say

An ex-rugby league player who learned to walk again after breaking his neck in two places has given a motivational talk to pupils at his old school.

Jimmy Gittins, who battled back from a horror tackle, told Outwood Grange Academy pupils about his triumph over adversity.

Mr Gittins, 42, refused to accept the doctor’s diagnosis that he might never walk again after being seriously injured while playing for Sharlston Rovers in 2002. He went on to walk partner Lucy down the aisle and they are now proud parents. He also accompanied the late Steve Prescott on many of his endurance challenges for charity.

The dad-of-two, of Sandal, said: “I’ve done many talks at schools and colleges by telling them my story. I’ve had a lot of hardships in life. It’s always nice to give something back.”

Mr Gittins, who is an ambassador for rugby league charity State of Mind, said he hoped his audience would use his story as “a tool” to cope with stress.

He said: “These pupils have a lot of pressures in exams, social media and stuff like that. “I think speaking to them will hopefully give them the inspiration they need. Being told I’d not walk again just gave me strength in the face of adversity and I hope to pass that message on.

“As a kid I always challenged myself, but I’ve overcome those challenges and defied the doctors. I was a former pupil at Outwood Grange. I wasn’t the always the best kid so it was a surreal experience ging back.”

After the talk a twitter user tweeted Mr Gittins and said: “Really enjoyed hearing you speak in assembly. It really motivated me for my exams. Thank you.” Outwood Grange Academy tweeted: “Thank you to Jimmy Gittins, who was just inspirational! What a moving but inspiring story.”