Matt Hampson's new life after rugby injury
- 27 February 2012
- From the section Leicester
On the wall of Matt Hampson's Leicestershire home are the Latin words "omnia causa fiunt" - "everything happens for a reason".
The promising Leicester Tigers player was left paralysed from the neck down and only able to breathe through a ventilator after a scrum collapsed in training while on England under-21 duty in 2005.
After 17 months in hospital he was able to come home and build a new life for himself.
He now lives in a converted barn and needs a team of 10 carers.
Despite this, he has started the Matt Hampson Foundation, a charity which helps young people whose lives have been dramatically changed by sporting accidents.
The 27-year-old, who is also a rugby coach at Oakham School, said the accident had made him a better person and now aims to help give other disabled people a fulfilling life outside of hospital.
"I want to help as many people as possible," he said.
"At the moment we've got the funds and support to help people out worldwide and that is so important."
The foundation raises money through a variety of ways including sporting events and gala dinners.
One of its early beneficiaries is Claire Lomas, from Melton Mowbray, who was left paralysed and told she would never walk again after a horse riding accident five years ago.
The charity has given her £10,000 towards a robotic suit to help her to walk and she is now training to walk the London Marathon in April.
"I like a personal challenge," she said.
"It makes me have to learn quickly and I want to raise as much as I can for spinal research.
"Matt has been incredible. It makes me realise that I'm lucky. He gets on with everything and he's worse off than me but you never feel like that around him.
"I've got his support through the foundation and the equestrian world has been behind me."
The former prop said the marathon would be an amazing achievement for the foundation.
"I think it would be absolutely fantastic for the world to see somebody doing the London Marathon with these robotic legs.
"It will be an unbelievable feat if she does it and I'm sure she will. It will open a lot of people's eyes up."
Matt Hampson told his story in his book Engage, which was co-written with journalist Paul Kimmage.
Its title comes from the last word he heard in the scrum before waking up in hospital.
Mr Kimmage said: "When he first mentioned to me that he felt this had happened for a reason I let it go over my head and I wasn't sure about it.
"But now seeing the response that he's had to what he's written about his life, it's obvious to me that he can make a difference."
Despite his injuries Hampson insists he is very lucky in a lot of ways.
"I've got a great family, a great support network through rugby and Leicester Tigers have been absolutely amazing," he said.
"I don't class myself as a disabled person. I know people look at me like that but people who know me don't."
He said his challenge was now to help others and show people that "you can live a life after a spinal injury".
Matt Hampson's story is featured on BBC Inside Out in the East Midlands, at 19:30 GMT on Monday 27 February.