A DISABLED teenager has succeeded in sport and is now dedicated to helping others.
Sports-mad Jack Sykes, 16, has been instrumental in developing disability sports at Newsome High School.
He has set up a lunchtime wheelchair club at the school for both disabled and able-bodied pupils. He coaches fellow students and is always willing to help others.
Jack, who has spina bifida and hydrocephalus, arranged for Malcolm Kielty from Great Britain rugby league to visit the school and launch a six-week wheelchair rugby scheme.
This involved organising the loan of specialist wheelchairs. The programme attracted a wide audience of mainly able-bodied youngsters and there are plans for it to be repeated.
Although much of his time is spent helping others, Jack, of Slaithwaite, has also notched up a number of sporting achievements himself.
He is a member of the five-man Bradford Bulls senior wheelchair team which won the league last season and are hoping to repeat the success this time.
Jack, who also referees, was named as the team’s Young Player of the Year and has been involved in training with the England senior squad.
He is a regular member of both the junior and senior Wakefield Whirlwinds wheelchair basketball teams. The seniors take on other teams from as far away as Scotland.
Jack is a vital member of Newsome school’s boccia team – a sport similar to bowls for wheelchair users – and has represented Yorkshire in the sport.
Teacher Phil Pearson said: “Jack has been instrumental and inspirational in developing disability sport within Newsome High School.
“He’s a kind and considerate young man, always willing to talk and to help others. Jack never boasts about his achievements – he is an unsung hero who deserves recognition.”
Jack added: “Sport has always been an important part of my life and takes up 95% of my free time.
“Coaching is enjoyable, although it’s sometimes difficult explaining the moves to non-wheelchair users.’’
Jack hopes to go on to university to become a physiotherapist or sports coach.