International Day of Persons with Disabilities | Padraic's Story
Being born with a physical impairment is always going to make life challenging from the get-go, so when I decided to arrive early into the world I weighed only 17 ounces and was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. This affects my motor control and requires a power chair to walk long distances.
When I was 9 years old I moved from a special needs school to mainstream primary school. Suddenly I was different because everyone else could walk and run. Everyone was so nervous of me playing Gaelic football and Hockey on my crutches for the simple reason of “what if I fell over”. And the truth is I did fall many times but I got right back up and continued to play.
For me, I needed to find a sport where I was equal and no different to anyone else. That’s where my sport of Boccia came in and I started playing when I was 9. Boccia was pivotal in my teenage life, as I was bullied quite heavily in secondary school and I wanted to focus on Boccia full time, however, my Mum and Dad encouraged me to finish school and go to college so I followed their advice.
However, even with college on the horizon, I started to compete for Ireland in Boccia. I was able to travel to Rio as part of the team how cool was that! I continued to excel and was selected for the Beijing Paralympics, which was an incredible experience.
While competing for the next two years I was able to complete a Radio Broadcasting Course. In 2010 I was crowned BC1 World Champion. Ireland then qualified for the London 2012 Olympics, this was the first time my family got to see me compete.
I went on to earn a degree in Communications at Dublin City University. Whilst also working with East Coast FM Radio as a Production Assistant, Producer and On-Air Sports Reporter. Despite the fact it was a demanding job especially for someone with my condition, they gave me that chance and 12 years on I am still working with East Coast.
I originally applied to join Sky Ireland in 2013. I passed all the interviews but due to the European Championships, I couldn’t accept the position. Fast forward to 12 months later applied again and the rest is history.
The support I have received has been second to none any support I have needed were put in place and my shifts are moved to allow me to compete.
One of the things I am most proud of in my time at Sky is becoming an athlete mentor on the Sky Sports Living for Sports Programme. In this role, I have been afforded the opportunity to empower young adults to achieve anything they set their mind to. I also to help to try stamp out bullying in schools to use my experience o encourage young people to seek help and that it’s ok to do so, which is something I never did when I was bullied.
I am so happy to work for Sky as it’s my ability they look at and accept me for who I am.