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England CP Football Captain Jack Rutter Devastated As Rule Change Ends Career

February 22, 2018

England Cerebral Palsy captain Jack Rutter says he is “devastated” after a change to classification rules led to an immediate end to his career.

The 27-year-old, who also skippered ParalympicsGB’s cerebral palsy side, has accepted a coaching role with the Football Association.

Revised rules regarding the level of a player’s impairment have led to Rutter being classified as ineligible to play.

“It’ll affect teams around the world,” he told BBC Radio Gloucestershire.

“I’m absolutely devastated and I feel like I’ve lost a lot. I’m fairly fit still so I had at least another five years of playing in me.

“But I’ve got lots of opportunities available to me now and I just want to try and help the next generation now.”

Following research, the International Federation for CP football have amended the level of impairment required for a player to be eligible.

“Now any player who hasn’t got spasticity in at least two limbs is no longer allowed to play in the sport,” Rutter, who is from the Forest of Dean, explained.

“Normally that comes from cerebral palsy from birth, or from a stroke, so players who have maybe had a traumatic brain injury later in life, or if they’ve recovered well, may not be able to play any more.

“It’ll be interesting to see the impact around the world because some teams could be left with no team to field.”

Rutter, who had captained England since 2014, has an FA level three coaching badge and will now work with the England CP Under-21 team.

Formerly on the books of Birmingham City, his dreams of being a Premier League player were ended in 2009 when he fell victim to an unprovoked attack while on a night out.

“I was just about to become a professional footballer,” he recalled. “I actually fractured my skull in two places because I was hit, knocked unconscious, and then I fell and hit my head on a kerb.

“That caused a double skull fracture, moderate brain damage and also severed my cochlear nerve, which means I’m permanently deaf in my right ear.

“My balance and coordination was terrible and I was dizzy all the time. But because I’ve trained and worked at it, I’ve managed to turn my life around and I feel very fortunate and proud of what I’ve achieved.

“But unfortunately, it means I can’t play in the sport any more because I’m not as impaired as some of the other players. However, that’s testament to me and how well I’ve recovered, I think.”

In a statement on the FA website, chairman Greg Clarke said: “Jack has not only been an iconic player, but a role model and a credit to the Three Lions badge.

“His very presence in the England Cerebral Palsy team has helped raise the profile of disability football, and the players that participate, across the country and at all levels.”


Assessor: I’ll Google Your Condition

February 21, 2018

A Husband’s Complaint To ATOS After His Wife’s Face To Face PIP Assessment

February 20, 2018

Same Difference recently received the following on email. The claimant involved remains anonymous, but the letter is otherwise published word for word. If you have experience with this ATOS nurse, please do let us have your comments.

 Good Day,

I would like to  bring the handling of my Wife’s Atos assessment by Nurse Mathew Flis, to change over from DLA to PIP and Mobility to your attention, and make a complaint for the following reasons, along with credible evidence of malpractice, by this Atos Nurse.
,On March 7th 2017 my Wife had a face to face assessment with Atos Nurse, Mathew Flis, his report was fraudulent and misleading for the following reasons. In his report, which I have a copy of, he claims to have carried out a Musculoskeletal examination, his report contains a comprehensive  list of movement and grip capability tests, to have carried out the claimed examination would have required my Wife to climb onto and then lay on a examination table,this examination did not take place, due to the fact that my Wife never left her seat, and also due to her physical condition, she would have been unable to be subjected to the alleged tests.  l have sent a complaint to DWP along with Doctors letters and MRI Scan and X Ray Results that confirms her actual physical condition.   My Wife’s answers to his assessment questions were ignored  manipulated, an example of this is … he accepted that my Wife requires to have cooked food cut up for her, on her plate, he did not accept that to prepare a simple meal she would have to have hard raw vegetables cut up for her … ??? due to grip issues,she could not use an aid, and I always assisted her,Mathew Flis ignored this,   Most importantly, he was told that since my Wife sent in the PIP application, she had an accident dropping a dish of hot food in the Kitchen, as a result of this SHE NO LONGER COOKS AT ALL,   Mathew Flis also ignored this change of circumstance and it was not mentioned in his report, I sugest that the Mathew Flis report is fraud by representation, and influenced the decision makers. My Wife needed 12 points to qualify for high rate care she was awarded 11 ….. Her Mobility allowance was lost due to Mathew Flis  ignoring my Wife when she reported that due to her stumbling because her leg does not always respond, she needs my support for her safety, since her mini stroke she now  has balance issues, which makes her walking even more difficult, Mathew Flis lied about the distance my Wife is able to walk, 12 weeks after the assessment her Doctor confirmed in a letter that she does stumble, all letters, MRI Scan and Xray reports can be obtained from DWP, these letters and reports are credible proof of Mathew Flis did not carry out his assessment in a legally acceptable manner.
Twelve weeks after the Atos assessment  my Wife saw  her Doctor ( Dr Robbins Marazion ), , after an examination Dr Robbins was  concerned by her painful condition, and movement restrictions,he confirmed that she had significant problems,( My Wife’s Doctors qualified assessment proves that Mathew Flis had beyond the balance of probability falsified his report )   he then arranged for X Rays,  Due to the X Ray report  he arranged for a MRI Scan, and referred her to a Neuro Surgeon, both Dr Robbins ( Marazion Surgery ) and Consultant Neuro Surgeon Mr Sam Muquit (Derriford Hospital Plymouth ) were appalled by the claimed Atos Nurses Musculoskeletal report and agreed the claimed Atos examination could not have taken place. Was this Nurse medically Qualified ?,  Does he have a code of practice to Follow ?  Atos is under contract to DWP, is this practice acceptable ?
In 2006 My Wife had a review, which involved a home visit and assessment by Atos Dr Malic  as a result of his report, My Wife was upgraded from low care to high rate, both components were awarded for an indefinite period, as her conditions are degenerating, some 12 years later Atos Nurse Mathew Flis’s assessment does not reflect on how my Wife’s condition would beyond the balance of probability have seriously degenerated. Both Doctor Robbins and Consultant Neuro surgeon Mr Sam Muquit  will confirm that my Wife’s Disabilities have indeed seriously worsened. Was Nurse Mathew Flis basing his assessment on his opinion or medical fact ?, MRI Scans and XRays taken shortly after the Atos assessment show a serious conflict in Mathew Flis’s claimed Musculoskeletal test, and my Wife’s Actual physical condition.
Due to the misrepresented Atos report, In March 2017 my Wife was reduced from High rate Care to Standard rate, she lost her Mobility allowance and her Blue Badge.
My Wife was devastated by these decisions and loss of her much needed Blue Badge, losing the Badge would seriously effect her quality of life, Due to the stress and anxiety of the decisions, and the prospect of having to attend an appeal tribunal, in May 2017 my wife suffered a Mini Stoke, her stroke consultant Dr L Wesson ( Royal Cornwall Hospital ), said that this stress and anxiety was most certainly the cause, The Mini Stroke has been life changing,  she now suffers with balance, mood and speech issues, the brain damage shows on her MRI Scan.
As a result of the support and medical evidence supplied by her Doctor, in June she received a phone call from PIP in Blackpool, a lady named Karen informed us that my Wife would now receive Standard rate Mobility, Karen also stated, that should my Wife appeal for high rate, she may well loose both components, we regarded this as a threat. Due to the risk of more stress my Wife agreed under duress.
In October my wife had a consultation with Consultant Neuro Surgeon Mr Sam Muquit, he carried out an examination and the MRI Scan was shown to us, he concluded that an urgent operation is required on her spine, however due to concerns of risks involved and the fact that she could well have a major stroke during the operation, due to her having to stop taking her blood thinning stroke prevention medication for days before the operation,  he thinks it would be unwise to proceed, the outcome of not having the operation, will eventually result in my wife needing a wheelchair.
Due to the Malpractice by the Atos Nurse Mathew Flis  my wife has suffered physical and financial loss, and is left in need of a operation on her spine that she now cannot have.  This is a serious matter, taking into consideration the medical evidence along with X Ray and MRI Scan results from my Wife’s Doctor and the Consultant Neuro Surgeon, this evidence proves beyond the balance of probability, that Atos Nurse Mathew Flis carried out the face to face assessment Fraudulently,  I will be seeking Redress for the Brain Damage and Financial loss my Wife has suffered, I intend to take legal action against Mathew Flis the Atos Nurse, for breach of the Fraud act 2006 / Misconduct in Public Office, he may well say he was Under Instruction, so I am approaching Atos first.
Both Doctor Robbins and Consultant Mr Sam Muquit have offered their full support regarding this complaint and my seeking Redress, My local MP Derek Thomas ( St Ives ), is also in receipt of this complaint letter.   The lateness of this complaint is due to health issues last year and Stress Limitation, and also awaiting X Ray and MRI Scan results, plus the consultation with the Consultant Neuro Surgeon in October. We are now going to give Mathew Flis and Atos a chance to resolve this, before taking this matter to Court. It is also our intention to Take legal action against DWP Decision makers Linda George and Anna Rushton.
 I will look forward to a quick and satisfactory response, and hope that my Wife will receive full recognition of this injustice, and she will now be treated in fairness and will receive Redress for the Stress and Consequence of that Stress and Anxiety Caused by Atos Nurse Mathew Flis.
   PS  A copy of this will be posted to  Atos customer relations, to create a paper trail to back this    email.
   A  complaint has also been sent to DWP.

World’s First Para-Football National Association Launched In Scotland

February 20, 2018

The world’s first national association dedicated to Para-football is to be created by the Scottish Football Association.

It will also invest more than £100,000 to help grow and run the game.

The governing body’s Para-football and equalities lead hailed the move.

“We’ve decided to give the individual organisations funding to allow them to have ownership of their leagues, their competitions and development of their own game,” David McArdle said.

“There’s no better way to make sure that inclusivity and equality is being embedded in your game than to have them sitting at the same table as everybody else.”

The new affiliated national association will unite a broad range of groups – amputee, cerebral palsy, deaf, frame, learning disability, mental health, powerchair, dwarfism, blind and visual impairment football.

Its launch announcement is being made at the inaugural Scottish Para-football conference, held in Largs on Sunday.

It hopes to level the playing field by sitting the disability organisations alongside other Scottish ANAs to give them a stronger voice and promote meaningful development.

“In Scotland, you have the youth game, the women’s game, juniors, amateurs, welfare and SPFL, but there is a gap for Para-football and disability sport in general,” McArdle told BBC Scotland.

“The SFA in the past have created the leagues and have set them up and helped the clubs develop, but really what we’ve found is that we don’t have the expertise of how they want their game to run.

“Players should always be at the forefront of everything that the SFA does, so the players will be closer to how the leagues are run, closer to their committees and able to say they want more or less league days and where they should be run.

“In the past, the SFA made those decisions for them, which for the benefit of the game is not correct, so that’s what we’re trying to do with this funding.”

The move is part of the SFA’s One National Plan, the grassroots football strategy launched in 2017 aimed at empowering players and volunteers, encouraging social change, inclusivity, equality and health.

It is thought to be the first time a nation has brought together the various organisations and McArdle says it is for the good of the Scottish football.

“In the past, all they had was training, training ever week with nothing to look forward to at the end of it,” he explained.

“Now, with over 24 competitions in place, the players have something to look forward to, to look over the other side of the pitch and see another strip that they’re playing against and have that competition element – and have what everyone else in the game just takes for granted.

“The football is always going to be serious. It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing five-a-side with your friends or playing in a professional or amateur league.

“The game is always competitive, so we want to allow opportunity for that to take place.”

Nyle DiMarco’s Tweets Spur Deaf People To Share Cinema Frustrations

February 20, 2018

Deaf actor and model Nyle DiMarco has taken to social media to share his dissatisfaction with the captioning of a screening of Black Panther on Sunday.

In a series of tweets Mr DiMarco explained how he walked out of the showing after feeling “so disabled” when the “awful” captioning device on offer “kept skipping lines” and “missing scenes”.

Hundreds of deaf people responded to his posts with their own stories of cinema annoyances.

Mr DiMarco, who won America’s Next Top Model and Dancing With the Stars, criticised the closed captioning system which displays subtitles to individual theatre-goers.

In the UK open captioning, which displays subtitles on the main screen, is much more prevalent.

Mr DiMarco added he felt “disappointed” by his experience and suggested cinemas were “basically for able-bodied people”.

Deaf actress Shoshannah Stern was among the hundreds who responded to share their irritation at the issues faced by deaf cinema-goers.

Ms Stern explained captions for the hearing-impaired are sometimes surreally at odds with the action on screen.

Nyle DiMarco regularly uses his social media following to draw attention to deaf issues, including teaching American Sign Language to his 1.5m Instagram followers and 63,000 YouTube subscribers.

Many Twitter users responded to Mr DiMarco’s tweet to explain issues of accessibility and captioning have stopped them attending the cinema all together.

One person said their faulty closed-captioning devices made them leave the cinema, while another replied they had given up on cinemas and would wait for a film’s DVD release,

Others called for more cinemas in the US to use open captioning.

While some pointed out that in the UK open captioning is used more often, the availability of showings was questioned by some.

The cinema chain involved responded to Mr DiMarco’s tweet stating they take issues such as this very seriously and asked the model to contact them.

More Than 1M Benefits Sanctions Imposed On Disabled People Since 2010

February 19, 2018

Disabled people receiving state benefits have been hit with a million sanctions in less than a decade, according to alarming new evidence that they are being discriminated against by the welfare system.

A comprehensive analysis of the treatment of unemployed disabled claimants has revealed that they are up to 53% more likely to be docked money than claimant who are not disabled. This raises serious concerns about how they and their conditions are treated.

The findings, from a four-year study by academic Ben Baumberg Geiger in collaboration with the Demos thinktank, will cause worry that a government drive to help a million more disabled people into work over the next 10 years could lead to more unfair treatment.

Sanctions – the cutting or withholding of benefits – are applied as a punishment when claimants infringe the conditions of their payments by, say, as missing appointments or failing to apply for enough jobs.

While the sanctions regime has been championed by the government as a means of encouraging people to take a job or boosting their chances of finding one, most experts consulted as part of the Demos project concluded that conditionality has little or no effect on improving employment for disabled people. There was also widespread anecdotal evidence that the threat of sanctions can lead to anxiety and broader ill health.

The study found that disabled claimants receiving jobseekers’ allowance – given to people who are out of work – were 26-53% more likely to be sanctioned than claimants who were not. Those hit by sanctions reported that the disparity arose because jobcentre staff failed to take sufficient account of their disabilities.

However, a spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said it did not recognise these figures: “If someone has a health condition, we work with them to reduce what they need to do, and people are always supported to meet the requirements of a tailored claimant commitment, which they agree with their work coach. This sets out what is expected of them in return for the support they will receive. Sanctions are only used when someone has failed to meet these requirements without good reason – this is in a minority of cases and people are given every opportunity to explain why they have failed to do so before a decision is made.”

The new study found that more than 900,000 JSA claimants who report a disability have been sanctioned since May 2010. People who claim a different benefit, employment and support allowance, and have been placed in a work-related activity group – which requires them to attend jobcentre interviews and complete work-related activities –can also be sanctioned. The research found that more than 110,000 ESA sanctions have been applied since May 2010.

The findings have caused alarm among charities, many of which have dealt with cases in which disabled people complained of poor treatment and a lack of understanding.

Mark Atkinson, chief executive at disability charity Scope, said: “Punitive sanctions can be extremely harmful to disabled people, who already face the financial penalty of higher living costs. There is no clear evidence that cutting disabled people’s benefits supports them to get into and stay in work.

“Sanctions are likely to cause unnecessary stress, pushing the very people that the government aims to support into work further away from the jobs market.”

Polling for the Demos project found that while the public often supported the imposition of sanctions for disabled people, they did not back the way in which they were applied in practice.

A majority thought that disabled people’s benefits should be cut if they do not take a job they can do, but they were less supportive of sanctioning for minor noncompliance, such as sometimes turning up late for meetings. Even those who supported sanctions preferred much weaker punishments than those the government uses.

The research recommends a reduction in the use of so-called “benefit conditionality” for disabled people and a strengthening of the safeguards to ensure disabled people are not unfairly punished.

Polly Mackenzie, director of Demos, said it was now clear that the benefits system isn’t working for disabled people: “Conditionality is important in any benefits system, but when disabled people are so much more likely to be sanctioned, something is going wrong. Jobcentre advisers and capability assessors too often have a culture of disbelief about disability, especially mental illness, that leads them to sanction claimants who genuinely could not do the job they are being bullied into applying for.

“We need to think again about how we assess work capability. Employers also need to be better at adapting to disabled people’s needs so that more jobs can be done by people with fluctuating conditions.”

This follows a damning report by the National Audit Office in 2016, which found that there was no evidence that sanctions were working. It also found a failure to measure whether money was being saved, and that the application of sanctions varied from one jobcentre to another.

Nina Grant has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic collagen defect that causes chronic pain, fatigue and frequent joint injuries. She was sanctioned in 2016 after she informed the Department for Work and Pensions that she was carrying out what the department specifically describes as “permitted work” while on disability benefits. “I only found out about the sanction when I checked my bank balance and realised the payment hadn’t gone in as usual.”

After she complained, her benefits were reinstated. “They didn’t apologise. They didn’t offer any explanation. If I hadn’t called them, it could have gone on for months. It made me feel like I was being punished for trying to contribute while disabled, and scared that they were going to use that as an excuse not to pay me.”

The Londoner is reliant on a wheelchair outside her home, and finds it extremely painful even to use a pen most days. “I understand that people exploit the system, but this government treats disabled people with utter contempt.”

Ten years ago Josie Evans was working as a nurse when she suddenly went into anaphylactic shock. After 41 further life-threatening attacks, she has been diagnosed with idiopathic anaphylaxis, which means she is extremely allergic to more than 100 antigens and triggers.

She relies on disability benefit to pay her rent and buy food but was sanctioned in 2016 after failing to send in a form on time: “The document was 20 pages long and I was in too much pain to write, because my hands were swollen from a recent allergic reaction I’d had.”

She explained this and was told she could take her time. Ten days later, a letter arrived from her landlord saying her housing benefit had not been paid. She discovered all her disability benefits had been stopped because the form had been late. “I was scared. I knew I’d need to buy food in the next 48 hours, and I can’t use a food bank because of all my allergies.”

It took weeks for her benefit to be reinstated, and she had to borrow money from her family. “It was so stressful it brought on an allergic attack. The people who work at the DWP simply do not understand the reality of what it’s like to be disabled. There is no room for compassion.”

Riding Everest-A World First

February 19, 2018

In April 2018, join Max and an expedition team of friends, family and supporters as we attempt to reach Everest Base Camp to raise funds for the Riding for the Disabled Association.

Max, who has cerebral palsy, will be leaving the electric wheelchair he relies on daily in Kathmandu and swapping to a Nepalese horse for the ascent up to Base Camp with a team of supporters walking alongside. 

This trek will be a world first.