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Inspiring Coaches

To celebrate National Volunteers Week, we have spoken to 3 coaches volunteering in Wiltshire and their stories are inspiring to all!  Take a read below and maybe you will be motivated to start a new path yourself...

David Baker2David Baker

David was having a one-to-one boxing session at Swindon's Scrappers Boxing Club when he started to experience pain and discomfort in his back. He asked if this was normal as he had not experienced the pain before, and ended up getting it checked by a doctor. 

He was given the crushing news that he had a tumour on his spine and may never walk again.  His only option was surgery, but even then he may be left unable to walk.

David went ahead with the surgery and after a long and painful road has now made a full recovery.  The experience made him appreciate how much we take our health for granted and he decided he wanted to give something back.  He took a Level 1 ABA coaching qualification and is now a volunteer coach at Scrappers. 

In David's own words; "I absolutely love coaching!".

Gareth LaganGareth Lagan

Gareth suffers with social anxiety and also has Tourettes. He has struggled with being accepted for who he is. His way of dealing with his anxiety was to stay indoors and this lead to him becoming addicted to gaming, unfit and overweight.

To help Gareth, Scrappers Boxing Club have encouraged him to help coach a group from Crowdy`s Hill school. Gareth has been attending the gym on and off for a long time, but sometimes slips back into his old habits.  At times like these, the club reach out to him and get him back on track.

Gareth will be encouraged to continue with his coaching.  He has been attending on a regular basis since he has been given the role of coach, and it feels like this will be the making of him.  A little recognition goes a long way!


In early January Aidan incurred a bad head injury while playing rugby, which caused concussion and residual symptoms for several weeks.  His Physio advised him to get checked by a Doctor, who told him to take some time out for ‘Brain Rest’.  Not long after, he found himself starting to struggle at college; he found it difficult to concentrate in lessons and was getting frustrated and angry about anything and everything. Other than his girlfriend, he didn’t let anyone know what was going on.

Aidan's grades fell drastically and before too long he started hating college and didn’t want to be there. His family also began to notice small changes in his character which raised alarms and he was persuaded to go to see a Doctor who diagnosed depression.  Soon after this, Aidan's condition spiralled to the point where he was struggling to just get up in the mornings. "Having depression is like a cancer, it eats away at you and it feels like you’re losing everything and you begin to drown in negative thoughts/feelings until you reach a point where you even consider suicide as a better option than the struggle you are dealing with".  Ever since, Aidan has regularly seen professionals who have helped him recover and become stronger than ever before.

In September, Aidan saw a Neurologist who advised it was not safe to continue playing rugby due to the risk of head injury. They recommended he never play again, advice which broke him as he'd been playing the game since he was 5 years old.  While still coming to terms with not being able to play rugby, Aidan started to support his club mates from the side lines. This led to him coaching the Bassett’s Under 13s side, where he has had a huge impact and has quickly become a popular and valued member of the coaching team.

Aidan is a very brave and strong young man and we thank him for allowing us to share his story. It shows how you can always find a place for yourself within the rugby family, on or off the field.

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