Stockton Paralympian proves match fit for return to School

 Matt Crossen with Brain Janes and the shirt Matt wore when he scored against Argentina in the 2016 Paralympics.

Picture By: Keith Blundy
Matt Crossen with Brian Janes and the shirt Matt wore when he scored against Argentina in the 2016 Paralympics.

Fresh from the Rio Paralympics, England five-a-side footballer Matt Crossen has made a visit to his old school, Ian Ramsey Church of England Academy in Stockton, to share his experiences.

As well as meeting staff and students in PE and English, Matt also took time to present the shirt that he wore when he scored against Argentina in the 2016 Paralympic Games.

Matt 26, who was a student at Ian Ramsey from 2001 to 2006, said: “This where I grew up and went to school – the old school has been knocked down now and there is a new one in its place – but it’s still my school.

“It’s fantastic to come back. In fact, I am more nervous about coming and meeting the students and doing speeches than I ever was walking out in front of fifteen thousand (15,000) people – it’s nerve wracking!

“I loved my time here. The lessons were good and the teachers were ‘quality’ – it was everything you needed. Then when you leave and look back on it – they really were the best years of my life.

 

“I wanted to come back and see the students and give them an insight into my story and my  challenges to help motivate them so that, even at a low patch in life, you need to keep going. I think that being a local lad really hit a nerve with them.”

Matt began to take football more seriously at the age of 12 after his granddad took him to his first football match. Playing at a high standard, Matt played in the Northern League Division 1 for Marske United until he had a stroke at the age of 23. He was subsequently contacted by talent scouts from the England Cerebral Palsy squad.

 Matt Crossen sizes up the next tallent to emerge from Ian Ramsey CE Academy. Left Jack Hannah and Right Keelan Wright both Yr 9 Students and Middlesborough FC Academy  Players

Picture: Keith Blundy
Matt Crossen sizes up the next tallent to emerge from Ian Ramsey CE Academy. Left Jack Hannah and Right Keelan Wright both Yr 9 Students and Middlesborough FC Academy Players

Matt added: “Without my stroke, I wouldn’t be the player or the person I am today. I’m now more humble and I no longer take life for granted. Its sounds strange, but the stroke really made a positive difference in my life and it’s great to come back here and tell that story.”

Head of School, Brian Janes, who received the shirt from Matt, said: “It’s fantastic  to have Matt come back and visit us. As soon as I learnt that we had an ex-student in the Paralympics, the first thing I thought about was getting him back into school to speak to and inspire our young people.

“We want to raise the aspirations of our students and for them to realise that life sometimes  gives you knock-backs and challenges. However, they can be made the most of; they are what makes you as a person. Matt is a great example in that respect. He had a stroke at a young age, but he was determined to be a footballer. No-matter what happened, he just wasn’t prepared to give those dreams up. That is the message I wanted to get across to our students: never give up, keep going, keep on driving and keep on improving. We are delighted to have Matt deliver that message.

“Matt’s visit to a range of classes and subjects as well as PE has given our students something to think about and memories that will stay with them long after they leave school.”

The shirt presented will be framed and take pride of place amongst signed shirts from other ex-students who have also achieved sporting excellence.

Notes:

Matt began to take football more seriously at the age of 12 after his granddad took him to his first football match. Playing at a high standard, Matt played in the Northern League Division 1 for Marske United until he had a stroke at the age of 23. He was subsequently contacted by talent scouts from the England Cerebral Palsy squad.

The defender made his debut for England at the 2015 Cerebral Palsy World Championships at St George’s Park, England, where the team qualified their slot for Rio by finishing in 5th place. At that tournament, he scored his first goals for his country against America and Ireland.

 Matt Crossen with Left Keith Lewin - Head of PE and Matt's PE taecher when he was at Ian Ramsey; Right Head of School Brian Janes

Picture: Keith Blundy
Matt Crossen with Left Keith Lewin – Head of PE and Matt’s PE teacher when he was at Ian Ramsey; Right Head of School Brian Janes

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