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Staffs Man Overcomes Odds Through Exercise

    • Steven Plimbley
    • Steven Plimbley
    • Steven Plimbley

Steven Plimbley has hydrocephalus and, with the help of his Stoke-based personal trainer, has managed to overcome severe mobility issues through exercise.

In the words of his Personal Trainer, Steven Plimbley is ‘a truly inspirational person, a pioneer!’

For the past two years Steven and Richard Stonier, who manages M Club Spa and Fitness, Stoke, have worked together to achieve a miraculous improvement in Steven’s well-being.

Steven has had hydrocephalus since birth and, though life has at times been very tough, he possesses a determination that we could all aspire to.

Like so many other people with hydrocephalus, Steven has experienced seizures, short-term memory loss, and a lack of physical strength in one side of his body from an early age. The longer his right-arm went without proper use, the less he was able to manipulate it and, after many years of guarding the affected limb, it restricted his level of activity and became very sensitive to touch.

Eventually Steven’s consultant recommended that he begin to exercise to improve his health. When Steven and Richard first met they set about trying to increase Steven’s level of independence through building up the strength in his arm. This was no easy task, and it has taken two years of consistent work to realise a positive change.

The process began with Steven discussing his physical condition with Richard and then recognising that much of the ‘pain’ he was experiencing in his arm was actually psychological, his arm had become something for him to protect and the idea of touching it was unbearable.

The pair started slowly with sessions in the swimming pool coupled with light periods in the gym. Initially Steven’s recovery time from each session was long and the gains in his strength were seemingly small. As an indication of where he once was, Steven remarks, ‘I couldn’t even squeeze this ball’, as he explains he squashes a ball in the palm of his hand and offers a large, satisfied grin.

And Steven has lots to be smiling about, not only has he gained strength in his arm to the point of extending weights high above his head, but the discipline of exercise is also beginning to enhance his short-term memory.

Richard explains, ‘Through keeping an exercise diary to log his sessions and make sure he doesn’t over do it, and by structuring station based circuits for Steven to complete each time, he is beginning to remember more for himself and become independent in this way.’ The gains don’t stop there either, Steven explains, ‘I am now able to use a knife and fork when eating, something I haven’t been able to do properly until now.’ The satisfaction Steven has gained is clear, he continues, ‘With less frustration in my life I’m also having less seizures, I feel so strong.’

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