STAGING Scott Ballard-Ridley has just completed his first competitive "row" at the Evesham Golden Mile - British Rowing

Scott Ballard-Ridley has just completed his first competitive “row” at the Evesham Golden Mile

Scott Ballard-Ridley, 24, suffered a brain injury in June 2007, was in a coma for 3 months and was in hospital for 15 months overall. As a result of his injury he is registered blind and has a number of mobility and neurological issues.

Scott became the first athlete in Evesham’s adaptive rowing section in late 2008. At the time he was largely confined to his wheelchair. The athlete, his physiotherapist and coach agreed that improving his physical capabilities after many months of enforced inactivity was a higher priority rather than teaching him to row. In the last 7 or 8 months Scott’s ergo times have improved by more than 20% and his BMI has dropped by about 4%. A mixture of ergo, body circuits and weight training and the natural recovery process has resulted in Scott now attending training on crutches rather than his wheelchair.


Since April outings on the river have become ever more frequent. Using a coxed single – Scott is now able to enjoy regular outings on the Avon, and his arms only stroke continues to improve. Due to the lack of flexibility in his feet, the footplate in the boat is currently being modified and Scott should then be able to start working on a full stroke. Mark Dewdney, his coach is also looking for a solution to allow Scott to determine exactly when he is squared or feathered.

"Coaching adaptive rowers is a matter of finding practical solutions to practical problems" says Mark, "and at each stage of Scott’s development new issues have arisen, we find answers – often by trail and error. The help of a number of ERC members and Maddie Millichap the ARA’s Club and Coach adaptive coach has been invaluable in this"

Evesham RC has many internal facilities for the disabled, and Scott will soon need to move on from the trainer. The club is seeking the funding and sponsorship to provide the additional equipment Scott and any new adaptive rowers’ development will require. Scott has just completed his first competitive "row" at the Evesham Golden Mile.  This is an Indoor Rowing event held every year in July at the Rowing Club.

Scott had not broken a 2 minute 500m split prior to the day. He completed the mile, thoroughly earning his gold medal, in 6 minutes 19.9 seconds at an average split of 1.57.7. A PB by nearly 9 seconds. His next target is a split of less than 1.55 for the 2000m at the BIRC later in the year.

Maddie Millichap
ARA Club & Coach west Midlands Adaptive Coach