Watch: Inspiring double amputee takes on new role as Ipswich Town youth coach
PUBLISHED: 13:15 26 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:15 26 March 2019
After losing both his legs in a hit-and-run in Newmarket, Shaun Whiter might be the last person you expect to see on a football pitch.
But the ex-Newmarket Town player has settled into his latest role as a coach for Ipswich Town under-13s.
Now working towards claiming his FA coaching badges and teaching some of Town’s youngest prospects, he also brings his own experiences to the team.
“There are things that fascinate me in regards to the mental side to the game, for me in particular dealing with setbacks,” Mr Whiter said.
“If I can help any age group, from the first team to the under-9s or the coaching staff, I’m happy to talk to them.
“Football is a massive drug I feel – people have their releases wether they’re watching it or playing it. Sadly now I can’t play football but I’ve got enough knowledge and I’m still learning more that I can try and give it to the children we’re teaching today.”
Mr Whiter was helping a friend change a tyre in Dullingham Road, Newmarket, in 2016, when he was hit by a car.
The collision left him with injuries so severe he required a double leg amputation.
Family support, rehabilitation and determination saw him learn to walk on two prosthetic legs, but a meeting with the club’s head of coaching and academy manager, Bryan Klug and Lee O’Neill, found him a way to get back into the sport that he loves.
Mr Whiter said: “There’s different ways people have inspired me.
“My family and my wife inspire me as they’ve been there through everything, but I’ve also been alongside Simon Milton, Titus Bramble, Mickey Stockwell – they inspire me to be a better person and a better coach.
“I started back in August 2018, working with John Coupe who coaches the under-13s, and the lads were really warm and welcoming to the club.
“I’m shadowing John, assisting at training, picking up coaching methods and helping them achieve what they want to with the club.”
Now able to take part in a sport and community that makes such a big part of his life, Mr Whiter is hopeful that others can find solace in what he has been able to do.
He added: “This is my rehab story and if it inspires anyone else in a similar situation to keep going then that’s only a good thing.”