When it comes to inspirational stories with a cricketing angle, they don’t come any better than Rob Franks’ From Disability to Ability.
Stripped to its essentials, the book tells of how Rob, an enthusiastic club cricketer, injured his leg while fielding which led to him discovering that he had a bone tumour. When operations left him with extreme pain, he made a brave decision. He would become a voluntary amputee.
Rob describes the trauma experienced by him and his family both before and after the above-the-knee amputation in 2018. His wife Carla and his son Harry, who is a keen and successful young cricketer in his own right, have shared his journey. He is open about the effect of his physical disability on his mental health. There were plenty of tears along the way. Readers may want to have a tissue or two to hand in case they feel a tingling in the eyes which may or may not be caused by hay fever.
Alongside the agony is the ecstasy of the successes Rob has achieved, both on and off the cricket pitch. He has played in Pro-Am T20 matches He also was part of an England Select Eleven that played against Hampshire at Hambledon in a match held to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the beginnings of first class cricket in 1772.
During COVID, Rob acquired and refurbished laptops for families who were in need and who had children home schooling. For this, he received a Learning Heroes Award. Also, he was proud to be a baton-bearer for the Queen’s Jubilee 2022 Commonwealth Games.
He now works as a Community Officer for the Dorset Cricket Board and is a Dorset County Pathway Coach.
Although Rob has received many accolades for his courage, not everyone has been kind to him. An opposing batsman calling him a cripple is surely something that goes beyond sledging. And his encounters with those doubting his right to a disabled parking space are scarcely believable.
Rob’s struggles continue. He has been diagnosed with PTSD but battles on. Hopefully, the process of telling his story will have proved to be cathartic.
There is no fancy language in this book. It is a story simply told, as it might be in an honest conversation; and it is none the worse for that.
At the end of the book, every reader who has a heart and a soul will wish Rob and his family success in their ongoing journey.
Note – From Disability to Ability by Rob Franks is available in paperback from booksellers including Amazon.
Rob also has a Facebook page which you can visit here