Defender Ben Atkins
- D.O.B. 26/6/91
- Born Sydney, NSW
PARAROOS CAP NUMBER: 27
DEBUT: 31/05/2008 v Canada
My name is Ben Atkins, I was born with CP. I grew up down the South Coast and moved to Sydney in my early 20s because of the Pararoos.
Being part of the Pararoos has been one of the greatest achievements of my life – for a number of reasons but the main reason is because it was one of the first times in my life that I felt visible.
School was tough. Although I had ‘friends’, they ceased being friends the moment we left the school ground each day. Most weekends were spent at home by myself. If I’m honest, most days at school were just as lonely; I was in close proximity to people I considered friends but it was more a relationship of convenience than any level of connection.
Pararoos taught me the importance of becoming valuable. At the age of 14 or 15 – I observed that the more I developed my playing ability, the harder I worked, the more attention and interest I received from the senior players, the more my confidence grew. These were the people I idolised and looked up to and they were treating me as an equal. The feedback loop had been created. Effort = Success. The more training and work I put in the better the outcome. Effort = Success has become my life philosophy. I’ve applied this for years now. It sits at the core of who I am. I now understand that as a senior player, the opportunity and gift I can provide to the younger players coming through the program. I must continue to lead by example to ensure I show what is possible on and off the pitch.