The Health and Safety Manager at TMD Friction has received a top national football coaching award.
Shaun Wilson was named Adults Grassroots Coach of the Year at the National Grassroots Football Awards.
The award was presented by Sir Geoff Hurst in Leicester during the Community Shield final between Manchester City and Liverpool at the weekend.
Shaun has been a football coach for over 11 years and was nominated for the award after helping a young player who developed a neurological condition called FND. The condition had left her in a wheelchair, however her love of football inspired Shaun to see what he could do to get her back playing the sport she was so passionate about.
Shaun, who is the coach of the Newton Aycliffe Youth Women’s Team, said: “The day she turned up to one of our matches in a wheelchair broke my heart, but she never gave up the hope of playing football again so that spurred me onto look at what I could do to help.
“Through her rehabilitation I researched the condition and found that physical exercise helped the majority of people suffering with FND, so I modified training sessions for her to be able to attend. I also allowed her to help me coach when she was feeling tired and kept her positivity up by with my feedback and encouragement.
“I didn’t know at the time how much of an effect I was having, then one day she joined in a friendly game at the end of a training session and it hit home – she had gone from looking at a future of never being able to play football again to being back on the pitch playing with all her friends.”
The young lady who Shaun supported is now working with the FA and is running her own training sessions for young footballers who are going through rehabilitation and want to get back playing competitively.
The National Grassroots Football Awards, which are sponsored by McDonald’s, are held every year to recognise those people who put their heart and soul into supporting grassroots football.
Shaun added: “What a fantastic time I had at the National Grassroots Football Awards. I was humbled to be nominated for an award and over the moon when I was announced as Adults Grassroots Coach of the Year. To top it off, I was presented with my award by the legend Sir Geoff Hurst – it was unbelievable.
“I am fortunate to work for a company that sees the benefits of work life balance. This has enabled me to keep up with my volunteering and allowed me to continue to help and support people in my local community.”
Helen Robinson is UK HR Manager at TMD Friction. She said: “We could not be prouder of Shaun. He’s a real credit to the company and away from work is making such a difference to the young footballers he coaches week in week out. This national award is thoroughly well deserved.”