Get to know Power Soccer athlete Cole Rutter as he shares his story and his experiences with Power Soccer!
My name is Cole Rutter. I am a 23-year-old man who sustained C3 C4 level incomplete spinal cord injury in 2008 at the age of 12 while quadding at my home. I have always been into sports. before my accident, as a child I spent most of my time outside playing. You could find me shooting hockey pucks or practicing goalie or defense in soccer. I loved going to practices and meeting new people.
After my quad accident my life changed a lot. I spent 7 months in acute care at Children’s Hospital and then 6 months at GF Strong Rehab Centre as an inpatient where I met some great people that helped me keep up with school so I could graduate with the friends I grew up with. I continue to go to physio at a place called Abilities in Abbotsford and that’s been great for helping me maintain my strength. I continue to receive daily support from a couple people that help keep me healthy.
It was during my time at GF Strong Rehab Centre when I first heard about power chair soccer. I can’t remember who exactly told me about it, but I’d like to say thank you to whoever did. Honestly, I didn’t have many concerns about playing the sport aside from accidently hitting someone else because I was using a new chair. I was more nervous than anything. I’m a competitor so I clicked in pretty early on how to play with the best. The hardest part is getting used to driving in your wheelchair and knowing when to pass and shoot the ball. It’s a lot of fun really!
The people I have met and friends that I have made are just a small part of the reason why I like the sport. I remember the first time I played I thought I was going to be the “new guy” but the other players made me feel welcome and there were no issues. I am writing this article because I feel more people who use a power wheelchair should know about this sport. I think this sport needs more public awareness and that not many people know about it. At least I didn’t until after my injury.
Power chair soccer is an adaptive team sport that can be played recreationally or competitively. Anyone who uses a power wheelchair can play as long as they are able to control their wheelchair and follow basic rules. The sport parallels the game of soccer and it’s a fun way to gain wheelchair skills if you are new to using a chair. If people want to play competitively they have the opportunity to travel the world and represent Canada. Living in Abbotsford I have practiced with the Surrey and Vancouver clubs. I like playing recreationally and competitively. I grew up competitive so that is what I’m used to, but both are just as fun. I do and would like to travel again to play competitive games.
New or potential players are welcome to stop by to and watch or try the sport for free. If you are interested in learning more you can check out the SportAbility website or www.vancouverpowersoccer.ca.