Stubbs, John: “If you want to call it that, Covid has done us no favours. However, the Tokyo Paralympics Games being postponed and then declared to be held 12 months later in 2021 offered everyone with a disability who aspired to be a member of the team a sense of purpose in life.”
The flagbearer of Tokyo Paralympics GB, John Stubbs, feels that rescheduling Tokyo 2020 gave “meaning to life” to ambitious Paralympians who were vulnerable and isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Archer Stubbs, who was chosen to lead his country into Tuesday’s opening ceremony alongside swimmer Ellie Simmonds, knows all too well about mental health concerns, having tried suicide 32 years ago after having his leg amputated.
The rescheduled Games have begun and will run until September 5, more than 16 months after the postponement was announced.
Stubbs believes that cancelling the worldwide event would have had a significant psychological impact on many of the athletes who were scheduled to compete in the Japanese capital.
“You’re talking to someone who has had a lot of negative psychology and mental health concerns,” he explained. “I’m not ashamed to admit that following my accident, I struggled with mental health concerns.
“If you want to call it that, Covid has done us no favours. However, the Games being postponed and then announced to be held 12 months later in 2021 gave everyone with a disability who aspired to be a member of the team a sense of purpose.
“To tell you the truth, who knows where a lot of us would be if it weren’t for that]?”
Defying the odds is something Stubbs, 56, has become accustomed to.
In November 1989, at the age of 24, the oldest member of the ParalympicsGB team lost his right leg after being knocked off his motorcycle on his way home from work as a fabrication engineer.
He needed a 68-pint blood transfusion after being hit by another automobile and was twice given his last rites in the hospital before surviving.
“I was working all hours God sent, like everyone in those days,” he said of the life-changing event. I had a mortgage to pay and other obligations. I was the only one who could make ends meet.
“Someone plainly didn’t like the fact that I was on this stretch of road, and they side-swiped me, sending me careening over to one side.” Because I was in such a horrible mood, I certainly blacked out.
“That’s when I got unlucky again since they say someone drove over me after that.” So that was a two-for-one deal.”
A female doctor happened to be walking by and was able to provide first aid before an ambulance crew returning to the station after a hoax call also came to a halt.
Stubbs stated, “They scraped me off the floor and took me to the hospital.”
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