NEW YORK — English cricketer Liam Thomas kept calm and carried on after losing his artificial leg during the final of a tournament for people with physical disability in Dubai last week.
Thomas, 22, dived for a ball during England Physical Disabilities team’s game against Pakistan on October 24 when his artificial leg became lose and went flying.
“It just happened, really. I was sprinting for the ball, put my hand out, hit the deck hard and the next thing I know I stood up and had no leg,” Thomas said. “I didn’t know whether to grab the leg or get the ball in. I decided to go for the ball.”
Thomas blamed the Dubai heat for expanding the leg’s socket and causing it to loosen.
Thomas, who was born with a disability, said his teammates appreciated and enjoyed his effort. “Having a disability, we all take the fun out of each other a little bit, we all have each others’ backs, so we are all trying to give each other grief when something like that happens,” he said.
Despite his best efforts, England lost the final by three wickets. Thomas said he hopes the attention his performance is receiving helps raise the profile of the sport.
The England and Wales Cricket Board supports several teams, including the Physical Disabilities team, teams for people who are visually impaired, for people with learning disabilities, and for people who are deaf.
Thomas, who works for the local water service near his home in Bradford, England, urges disabled people to get involved in sports. “Don’t be afraid, no matter what sport it is,” he said.
“Never in a million years would I have thought I would be touring Dubai, playing cricket, doing something I love. It’s just not something you think a disabled person would do, but being involved in disabled sport allows you access to do stuff like that.”