Dan Coppard

The inspiring sporting journey of Sussex Rehab Centre user Dan Coppard.

Dan Coppard - Brighton football

Albion in the Community first set-up the Brighton & Hove Albion Amputee FC team in March 2016, using funding from the EFL (now part of the PL/BT funding). The program was designed to give an opportunity for local players who have had an amputation or have a limb deficiency and includes weekly training sessions at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre (the club’s training ground) and having a team compete in the National Amputee league against similar sides from the likes of Arsenal, Everton, Portsmouth and Manchester City.

Dan Coppard is one of the team’s players and has been attending since the very first taster session nearly three years ago. Dan, who was born without an arm below his right elbow and no left hand, as well as no left leg below the knee, used to play some sports when he was younger, such as martial arts and played some football – but he had stopped for quite a while. He then was introduced to AITC through our partnership work with the Sussex Rehabilitation centre (a specialist service run by the NHS for anyone in Sussex who has an amputation or limb deficiency).

Dan Coppard - Brighton football

Dan, who is an Albion season ticket holder, was also given the honour of leading the Seagulls out onto the pitch when Derby County visited the Amex in the 2017/18 promotion winning season. He really values opportunities like that and the chance to represent the club through BHAAFC saying “It’s a great honour to play under the badge, I’ve taken the ball out on the Amex pitch before an Albion match – and played on it too; that’s all been down to AITC. It’s been fantastic.”

Since joining, Dan has attended nearly 200 sessions with AITC, many as player (around 150, including fixtures) but more recently many as a volunteer. Having enjoyed being a player with AITC and all of the opportunities he’s had Dan was keen to broaden his responsibilities in the BHAAFC side and take on a new role and wanted to explore becoming a coach to enable him to give something back and support people in a similar situation to himself. Dan enrolled himself on the PL/BT funded Player development program (PDP), where AITC’s disability team offer mentoring support, volunteer opportunities and the chance to become a coach to players from within our sessions.

Dan said “Playing football has enabled me to keep active and healthy and to meet and build relationships with other amputee players, something I’ve never done before, until I joined AITC. The PDP program has meant I have been able to build confidence and develop strong leadership qualities which come across not only through coaching but on the pitch as a player. Through the volunteering and coaching, not only have I learnt more about myself as a person, I have also learnt more about other disabilities which in turn has helped me to understand more about my step-son’s autism, meaning I can put skills learnt in coaching, in to practice outside of football.”

He continued “All through my life I have people telling me how remarkable I am and so and it’s probably one of my pet hates as I see myself the same as anyone else, so I find it quite patronising at times, but with AITC you don’t get any of those comments, we are all the same, we are viewed as people with varying disabilities coming together for the same thing and that is to play football and that’s what I like most about AITC.”

Dan and his family are also members of our Gully’s Days Out scheme, where AITC work with local attractions to offer free passes to children and adults with a disability and their families. The scheme enables families to enjoy days out without the financial burden and the worry of losing out if they cannot attend; this helps to reduce isolation for families and gives them valuable time together. For Dan, this has meant time to bond with his step-son and the chance for his family to enjoy days out with worry.

Dan Coppard - Brighton football

After completing the PDP, Dan has continued to volunteer with AITC, completing his FA Level 1 in football coaching along the way (with support from his mentor) and has impressed so much with his attitude and coaching ability that we have now recruited him to become a paid Community coach within the disability department. He has already starting working and fulfilling his wish to give something back to the local community.

Dan has also embraced giving back to AITC, helping out at a number of fundraising events, actively promoting and supporting our programs and even organising a team from the Amputee squad to compete in AITC’s annual quiz night (winning the trophy of course).

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Sussex Bears – Wheelchair Basketball

sussex bears

The Sussex Bears Wheelchair Basketball Club are currently looking for players to join their teams, from development leagues, junior leagues, national leagues … for the 2019 /2020 season.  If you are interested you can find contact details on their website. If you contact them in advance they can even make sure there is a special sports chair ready for you to use.

If you are more interested in spectating then here is a schedule of their upcoming home games.

February 9th 1700 – Sussex Bears 1 vs Sparrows

February 23rd 1100 – Sussex Bears 1 vs Kings

March 23rd 1300 – Sussex Bears 1 vs Raiders

March 30th 1300 – Sussex Bears 1 vs Bears

April 6th  1100 – Sussex Bears 2 vs Otters       

April  6th  1500 – Sussex Bears 2 vs Tigers

Home games are played at:

Sir Robert Woodard Academy

Upper Boundstone Lane


West Sussex, BN15 9QZ



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Free Cricket Sessions

Sussex County Cricket Club are running a number of free disability cricket sessions around the county. The sessions are aimed at those between the ages of 12 and 25 years old and are at the following locations/times:

Downs View Life Skills College, Old London Road, Brighton, BN1 8XR

Every Wednesday 4-5pm

Woodlands Meed School. Chanctonbury Road, Burgess Hill, RH15 9EY

Every Wednesday 4-5.30pm

Horntyre Park Sports Complex, Bohemia Road, Hastings, TN34 1 EX

Every Monday 5-6.30pm

College of Richard Collier, 82 Hurst Road, Horsham, RH12 2EJ

Every Thursday 4.45-6pm

Worthing High School, South Farm Road, Worthing, BN14 7AR

Every Saturday 10-11am

For more information on any of these sessions please contact Aroop Tanna at Sussex Cricket (email details on poster below) or visit The Lords Taverners website


Burgess Hill Disability Cricket Sessions

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Coasting Together Christmas Lunch

All Sussex Rehab Centre users and their friends and families are invited to join us for our Christmas lunch on Tuesday 4 December 2018.

We are holding this at The Bali Brasserie, First Avenue, Hove. The lunch starts at 12.30 and will be preceded by our December Coasting Together meeting. Centre users are welcome to attend one or both events.

You can find booking details on the poster below.

Xmas lunch 2018


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Wheelchair Tennis Taster Sessions

Tennis Sussex are running a number of wheelchair tennis taster sessions over the next few weeks.


The sessions are being held at Weald Tennis Club in Hassocks and are a good opportunity  for wheelchair users to try out the sport.


If you are interested please contact Adam Field direct as per contact details on the poster below.Wheelchair Tennis Sessions Weald Poster



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NHS England Specialised Commissioning Prosthetic Review Patient Survey

NHS England Specialised Commissioning Prosthetic Review Patient Survey is now open and this is an important opportunity to have your say.

NHS England is responsible for planning and buying specialised services for people who need complex disability equipment. This includes all major upper and lower limb amputees and people with congenital limb deficiencies who have a potential to use prosthesis to help them mobilise or improve upper limb function.

As part of the review into specialised prosthetics services, they held two meetings in June with staff working in prosthetics centres across the country, to understand issues with current service provision. There was a strong consensus on the key hopes for the review and over the next few months NHS England will be setting out what they need to do to start achieving these outcomes in the next 3 years.


  • All patients should have equal access to high quality care.
  • Consistent guidelines and equitable policies that are transparently applied and monitored.
  • A payment system that fairly recompenses activity, where money follows the patient.
  • Success should be measured by outcomes and patient satisfaction, rather than activity.


NHS England would now like to explore some of the issues that have been raised to better understand views and experiences of patients and carers, and they have set up a patient survey so that people can share their feedback. The survey is open until 19 September 2018.


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Brighton Disability Pride Day Sat 14 July 2018

Brighton Disability Pride 2018 - poster

More details of the event at the Disability Pride Brighton website

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