Simon lives with Achondroplasia, but it doesn’t stop him from pursuing his love of cricket

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Simon Hood, 38, may have spent most of his life in a wheelchair but he doesn’t let it stop him from staying involved in his favourite sport.

Based in Tamworth, NSW, Simon works in administration but his true passion comes to the fore when he volunteers his time as a cricket umpire, coach and Secretary of the Tamworth City United Cricket Club.

Cricket has been Simon’s passion since he was seven-years-old and he first tried his hand at umpiring when he was 15. However, it wasn’t until 1999 that he became a regular fixture at the ovals around Tamworth.

Fast forward to 2019 and Simon has not missed a weekend away from his favourite game in nearly 20 years, including the four grand finals that he umpired in his local competition.

Simon lives with achondroplasia, a genetic condition that is characterised by a short stature, meaning he relies on a wheelchair as a result of general spinal complications and mild cerebral palsy.

Although Simon acknowledges the physical dangers of being involved in sport with his disability, he chooses to stay involved in the sport he loves.He avoids umpiring the fast-paced T20 format in favour of the more controlled environment of the longer form of the game.

“There are risks for me in any sport but I have adapted to not let these risks stop me from enjoying cricket,” he said.

Simon moved into coaching in 2007 and says that he uses his extensive knowledge and love of the game to help his teams improve.

“The technical side of it is a bit hard for me to do so I try to help with the mental side of things and coach alongside someone that helps with the technique aspect.

“Although I cannot physically participate, cricket has provided me with opportunities such as coaching and umpiring, which I would not have otherwise had.  

“The support out there and the network for people living with a disability is fantastic, in particular, the support from the cricket community.

“There are more opportunities than ever before for people living with a disability the world is our oyster and we need to grab it with both hands.”  

Simon has no plans to slow down his current involvements with the cricket community and is aiming to add ‘sports journalist’ to his already extensive resume.

Simon’s story is part of Cricket Australia’s Community Champions initiative that aims to share the stories of local heroes making cricket a sport for all.