Disabled Redbridge netball coach hailed as everyday hero

PUBLISHED: 15:00 03 September 2016

Michelle Cox at the Redbridge Sports Centre where she coaches netball.

Michelle Cox at the Redbridge Sports Centre where she coaches netball.


A netball player who mysteriously woke up paralysed from the waist down is being commended for her contribution to the sport.

Michelle Cox, from Goodmayes, is being celebrated by Sports Coach UK as an everyday hero after battling through her illness to coach the under 23 mixed netball team in Australia last year.

In 2012, after playing a midweek game, Michelle’s life was changed.

“It was just a normal Wednesday night league game at Redbridge,” said Michelle. “When I woke up, I was paralysed from the waist down. I thought it was a netball injury but I knew it was more serious when I couldn’t feel my legs.

“The doctors thought I had a stroke and I was in and out of hospital for a year – to this day they don’t know what caused it.”

The 37-year-old’s condition baffled doctors as they were unable to explain what had caused the sudden paralysis.

“When they told me it wasn’t anything terminal, it was a relief because I knew it was something that I could recover from.”

“I don’t have cancer or a terminal disease – I knew it was a case of mind over matter.

However Michelle still struggled to come to terms with her sudden condition and took a break from the sport.

“Nobody knows what caused this, and my netball friends became an inspiration. They tried to get me to move when no one else would touch me because the disease was unknown to them,” said Michelle.

Now able to stand again and coaching at Leyton Netball Club, Michelle is happy to be back.

“I can still get involved, and one day, I might run again,” said Michelle.

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