Book Review – The Fall and Rise of Matt Hampson

The Fall and Rise of Matt Hampson by Paul Kimmage (Simon & Shuster) ISBN: 978-0-85720-547-6

‘Why me? The words that haunt you at night. Why me? The words that make you cry. Why me? The risk of sustaining a serious injury has been calculated at .084 per 100,000 players.’

These are the words of Matt Hampson, promising rugby player for England U21. One fateful morning his dreams were dashed. It was a morning like any other; a training session like any other. Except this training session would be his last. The scrum collapsed and Matt took the full force of the blow. He woke up in intensive care unit, paralysed from the neck down – his life dependant on a ventilator.

Award journalist, Paul Kimmage, writes a compassionate story about Matt’s injury. It is a story of courage as Matt adapts to becoming a prisoner in his body. The book contains a tribunal written as a screenplay and includes articles as well as the perspectives of family, friends and players from Matt’s team. This unusual writing approach enables the reader to get a holistic view of the tragic morning that left Matt with tattered dreams.

It is Matt’s acceptance of his fate that ensures that this book is a journey for the reader when the ‘Why me’ becomes ‘because it has made me a better person.’ A good read that will be enjoyed by rugby fans and people who need inspiration in their lives.

Ulrike Hill

Posted on: 19th January 2012