Injured ex rugby star takes to the skies

Posted in: Community Last updated: 24 May 2010

Ex rugby league player, Jimmy Gittins, who broke his neck in two places whilst playing for Sharlston Rovers and at the age of 28 was told he may never walk again, is to jump with the Red Devils at Langar Airfield in Nottingham on 1 June to raise funds for the Steve Prescott Foundation.

Sharing the adrenaline rush of jumping out of a plane at 15,000 ft and accelerating 0-120mph in 10 seconds, in tandem with an instructor, will be league legends, Steve Prescott, Paul Sculthorpe, Steve Hampson and Terry O’Connor.  They will be joined by ex Everton defender Derek Mountfield and Emmerdale Soap Star, Kelvin Fletcher.

Jimmy, a former Wakefield Trinity and Dewsbury centre, who recently became a father, despite being told at the time of his accident of the unlikelihood of every having children, has made a habit of refusing to accept the limitations of his condition.

“To be honest, I am driven.  When my accident happened, I had no choice but to get on with it, or give up completely, and my aim was to get a fully functioning life.  A lot of people around me were hurt by my situation, it made me want to do it for them.”

Jimmy, now 36, lives in Sandal.  He has very minimal movement in his limbs and is a firm believer in the importance of goals and personal challenge.  Keen to raise awareness of spinal injuries, he will be visiting local schools to talk to children about the importance of focus.

Although he has previously completed a bungee jump, Jimmy has never jumped out of a plane, and is putting his faith in the Red Devils to bring him safely back down to earth.  A specially designed harness will enable the instructor to raise Jimmy’s legs on landing:

“The guys are very professional, I feel certain I’m not the first to do a jump like this,” he said.

There are a few places still available to join Jimmy, Steve Prescott and the team on the parachute jump, which takes place on 1 June.

Participants need to raise a minimum of £800 in sponsorship, which will be donated to the Foundation’s two charities: Try Assist, the Rugby League Benevolent Fund which helps support seriously injured rugby players; and the Christie Cancer Hospital. 

Please contact Martin Blondel on 07971 792859 for details or to donate to the Steve Prescott Foundation click here.