Mark Eccleston, Motivational Speaker, Tetraplegic Paralympic Champion, World's first Tetraplegic Tennis Coach, At the age of 16, Mark Eccleston had an accident in which he severed his spinal cord. He was left tetraplegic, paralysed from the chest down and was told he would never walk again. During his 7-month stay in hospital he was introduced to wheelchairs sports as part of his rehab. On leaving hospital he won gold in table tennis at the National Wheelchair Games. It was here where he was introduced to Wheelchair Rugby, and in 1992 he captained Southport to the National Title. Between 1992 and 1996 he captained Great Britain in 2 World Finals and the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics. He was also the first British player to play a season in America when he signed for Tampa Bay. After Atlanta Mark needed a new challenge and so took up wheelchair tennis. He has since won 7 National titles and in 2002 he became the first British player ever to be No 1 on the World Singles Ranking. He was also part of the first British team ever to win the World Team Cup (the Davis Cup of wheelchair tennis) and he won a Silver Medal at the 2004 Athens Paralympics.

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Background

At the age of 16, Mark Eccleston had an accident in which he severed his spinal cord. He was left tetraplegic, paralysed from the chest down and was told he would never walk again.

During his 7-month stay in hospital he was introduced to wheelchairs sports as part of his rehab. On leaving hospital he won gold in table tennis at the National Wheelchair Games.

It was here where he was introduced to Wheelchair Rugby, and in 1992 he captained Southport to the National Title.

Between 1992 and 1996 he captained Great Britain in 2 World Finals and the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics. He was also the first British player to play a season in America when he signed for Tampa Bay.

After Atlanta Mark needed a new challenge and so took up wheelchair tennis. He has since won 7 National titles and in 2002 he became the first British player ever to be No 1 on the World Singles Ranking.

He was also part of the first British team ever to win the World Team Cup (the Davis Cup of wheelchair tennis) and he won a Silver Medal at the 2004 Athens Paralympics.

Mark is one of those unique athletes that has been successful both as a team member and as an individual.

In January 2006 Mark became the first tetraplegic in the world to qualify as a tennis coach.

As a speaker he is articulate and passionate. His story is moving, inspiring and humorous, as he talks about his determination to deal with trauma at such a young age and what it took to be the best in the world.

Areas of Expertise

DEALING WITH ADVERSITY

At the age of 16 Mark was told that he would never walk again and that he would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. Mark talks about how he dealt with such a devastating injury at such a young age, his road to recovery and how it affected him and also all those around him.

PUSHING THE LIMITS

When you are told at 16 you will never walk again coping with every day life is an achievement in its self, but to then go on to be the best on the planet at what you do takes the degree of achievement to a new level.

Mark talks about how he dealt with his injury, what then drove him to be successful and what it took to be one of the best wheelchair athletes of all time.

BELIEVE TO ACHIEVE

Mark has represented Great Britain at both rugby and tennis, which makes him one of those unique athletes that has been successful both as an individual and as part of team.

He has now set up his own business coaching and advising on how to be successful.
Mark talks about the strategies and performance programmes he implemented that enabled him to be a success and what it took to stay one step ahead of his opponents.

Client Comments

“With the Cliff Richard Foundation now involved in providing opportunities for children with disabilities to play tennis it was fantastic that Mark was able to join us at the Tennis Classic. His achievements are truly inspirational and his participation in the Tennis Classic help make the whole occasion a wonderful success”

Sir Cliff Richard – The Cliff Richard Tennis Foundation

“Mark has a powerful message. His personal experiences and achievements translate into all walks of life. If we follow his example in our personal and business lives we will benefit tremendously.”

Rhys Jones- Human Resources Director, Mowlem PLC

“Mark is the sort of person who gives you confidence, inspires you and who you would always want on your team. His is a remarkable story of determination. Failure is simply not on his agenda.”

Jenny Rudge OBE – Chief Executive, Connexions - Devon and Cornwall

“The children loved talking to Mark and asking him questions about his life, he was truly inspirational”

Mrs.H.Arnold – Head teacher, St.Theresa’s school, St.Helens

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