My dad served as a Royal Marine for 33 years, 22 years as a member of the elite SBS, so over the years, although I’ve met some amazing people, I’ve rarely been taken aback by stories of individual endeavour and resolve. Then I met James!
James Moore was born with spina bifida, a rare condition where the embryo’s neural tube, that later forms the spine and the nervous system, fails to mature correctly, leaving a gap in the spine. Spina bifida is linked to paralysis, cardiovascular problems, bowel conditions and learning difficulties.
James considers himself very lucky to have escaped paralysis, reflecting on how much worse his condition could have been. The spinal defect did however result in; fusion and overlapping of his ribs, a life long incurable bowel condition and dyslexia.
At the age of 7, James told his orthopaedic surgeon of his dream to be a professional footballer. The response from the surgeon was devastating. He was told that any sudden impact to the spine could leave him permanently disabled. He was also told that the condition would almost certainly worsen through adolescence leaving him with severe arthritis and unable to stand upright by the time he was twenty.
By age 18, having undergone five major bowel operations, James was at college studying BTEC sport, and despite the earlier advice was still playing a decent standard of football. It was during his time at college that he first discovered weightlifting.
At the age of 20, thirteen years after being advised to stop sport, the severe spinal curves (scoliosis) had noticeably improved and he was now coaching football in local schools, running a Saturday morning club and was at college studying sports coaching and science. By ignoring the surgeons advice and staying active he had actually protected his spine by strengthening and developing lean muscle mass in his back.
James is now 30. He has endured three ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) operations and two further bowel operations. He has completed degrees in both sports studies and teaching; he’s an advanced personal trainer, advanced nutritionist, UEFA B football coach, level 3 physical performance coach and is currently completing a MSc in strength and conditioning.
Although he no longer plays football, he’s in the gym everyday, runs his own very successful sports and fitness business, is strength & conditioning coach at a professional football club and lectures at college to up and coming athletes.
I think it’s only fitting to allow James to conclude this inspirational blog;
“Some days are better then others, but that’s life. You always have a choice, avoid everything and run or face everything and rise. I chose to rise. No matter what anybody says, no one knows your body and mind like you do. Even when faced with the greatest adversity, with a positive attitude you can overcome all obstacles and achieve your objective. Set goals, make mistakes, sometimes you will fail, sometimes you won’t, but remember you never ever lose, you either win, or you learn. Be determined, be humble and always be the hardest worker in the room!”