Mark Bowen visited the IPF Box to watch England v Argentina in the Old Mutual Wealth Series during the Autumn Series and agreed to give the IPF an insight in to his story.
Mark (41) was seriously injured 25 years ago playing rugby for London Schools v Germany. After an initial operation at the Royal London Hospital, he spent eight months in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, before having to cope with a different future to the one he had envisaged.
In those days the Injured Players Foundation was yet to exist and it was only in his 20s that Mark “finally realised I needed help and had some counselling.”
Now Mark is a qualified counsellor himself. There’s a natural warmth and confidence about him but “for a long time I wouldn’t go to the gym. It was quite a while before I began to accept what I can do, rather than focusing on what I can’t do."
“I was still at school at Haileybury when my injury happened and they were very supportive, my coach was Jamie George’s dad. I’ve been lucky in having family support too and I have a wonderful four-year-old daughter, Christobel."
“Now I also have support from the Injured Players Foundation, they helped me with an accessible bathroom and a new adaptable wheelchair which I can take off road. I’m very impressed with the way the Foundation has developed connectedness and branched out in terms of building clients’ confidence and self esteem.”
In Twickenham’s specially adapted IPF hospitality box, having come from home in Cornwall to watch England v Argentina in the Old Mutual Wealth Series, Mark said:
“Meeting other guys you can talk about the process you went through at the beginning. You are not just a person in a wheelchair but have a lot to offer each other in terms of shared experiences, although each of us is unique.”