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Michael Murphy and the Paralympic Games

Updated: May 20, 2020

About Michael Murphy

Michael is a 23-year-old young man who was born with a rare neurological degenerative disorder called Dejerine-Sottas. As a result, he now has very limited sensation and movement in his arms and legs, he has had a double spinal fusion, which has resulted in having a metal rod put in his spine. As this condition is degenerative, that means it gets worse over time. As a result of this, Mike's muscular strength and control has been impacted and he is now heavily dependent on using his wheelchair. This being said, horse riding has been crucial for Michael to stay as strong and fit as he is. Without it, he wouldn't be in such good condition.

I personally work with Michael as a Sports Therapist as much as possible to ensure he continues to develop his core, leg and arm strength to help him train and compete to the best of his abilities, but also safely.

At the age of 4, Michael’s Physiotherapist advised his mother, Sue, to take him to try horse riding as it is great for strength development, core engagement and improving the overal control of the whole body. After the first session, Michael fell in love with it. Today, Michael is an aspiring Para Dressage rider for Team Ireland and has played an influential role in managing to get the team qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic games. Unfortunately, due to the outbreak of covid-19, the Paralympic games have been postponed until 2021. Before the outbreak, Michael essentially had the 2020 Paralympic Games in his grasp, but due to the postponement and the continuous financial pressure Para dressage has upon him as a rider and the team, it now means Michael needs to raise £87,000 more to simply have the chance of reaching the games in Tokyo. This is the cost of having the horses for a year, their maintenance and care and the travel to and from training and the Local, National and International competitions. Covid-19 has had a negative effect on so many lives already. It would be heart-breaking to see all of Michael’s hard work be put to a stop just because of the financial aspect of the sport.

Who is Michael to me?

Michael is effectively a younger brother to me. The Murphy family have always played a big part in my life, ever since I started primary school with their son, James. As James and I formed an unbreakable friendship, it meant we were together a lot! As James has two younger bothers, Michael and Patrick, I have seen them both grow up to become the young men they are today. Being able to see Michael grow up, it has allowed me to witness how he has developed as a person and as a rider. Sadly, James passed away in a tragic accident in NZ almost 5 years ago. Losing James has had a huge impact in all of our lives, but the drive and determination to succeed and achieve shown by both Michael and Pat has been admirable. It is evident that Michael now wants to achieve this goal more than ever.

How can you help?

A few others and I have been fundraising to help Michael by undertaking physically challenges such as the 24hr National Three Peaks Challenge and the Tough Mudder, but realistically, we need more help. We are continuing to do as much as we can to help fundraise, so if you would like to help Michael by donating (no matter the amount), know of anyone that would like to donate or would like to help with the fundraising, please follow the Gofundme link below and/or get in contact with me via email.

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