Breaking sports records

I didn't know how much potential I had before I came to Middlesex.

Stacie Gaston-Monerville

A promising footballer before an illness left her unable to walk, sport and exercise science student Stacie Gaston-Monerville has broken two British records for discus and shotput since joining us at Middlesex. She puts her success down to unwavering encouragement and support from staff and students.

“If you'd told me two years ago where I'd be now, I wouldn't have believed it. I didn't know how much potential I had before I came to Middlesex. Being here has brought me out of my shell and my confidence has got a lot better. It's helped me to be who I really am.

I'm in a really good place now: I'm on the track team, winning medals for my throwing and I coach the women's football team. People here opened my eyes to so many opportunities, like speaking at a conference about disability sport, something I would never have had the confidence to do before."

I'd been on a spiral down

"When I came here, I'd been through a very difficult time. I'd been playing football on a scholarship in the US. I was back seeing family and friends when I woke up one morning and couldn't walk. It turned out I had a condition affecting my back that I hadn't known about, and it had been made worse by the extent of the sport I was doing. It was devastating.

I went on a spiral down. I lost a lot of weight, I wasn't eating, and didn’t really want to talk to anyone. My confidence just went.

It was three years later that my friend's sister suggested I go back and finish uni. She'd been to Middlesex and she brought me here to meet some lecturers and speak to the Sports Department.

I was quite shy when I started, I wouldn't really talk to anyone. But over time I changed. The campus is very friendly. Everyone says 'hello' even if they don't know you."

The support was unbelievable

"Getting into throwing made a big difference. Alison my coach came up to me in class one day and asked if I wanted to try it. When I went to my first competition, I broke two world records for discus and shotput – I'd only been throwing for about two months.

Stella, the Deputy Head of Sport, got to know me and learnt about my background. She asked me to coach the women's football team. I've been coaching school kids since I was a teenager, but I'd never coached a team the same age as me, so I wasn't sure. But Alison said: 'You're good at what you do, you should put it out there'.

The Sports Department is literally my home. It's like our own little family over there. They continuously encourage me. Even when I had a few rough patches at the end of last year, they were constantly checking I was ok. Mentally and physically, the support has been unbelievable.

Sport has pretty much been my life – in and out of the chair. I've had to adapt a lot, but people at Middlesex helped me find a way to follow my passion. They've changed my life completely."

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