In our latest Q&A we catch up with two-time World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) Group 8 tournament semi-finalist David Grant to reflect upon what has been a life-changing year for him so far – and not because of the ongoing global pandemic…
Hi David, there is only one place to start with the news that – after what must have felt like a long wait – you recently received a successful kidney transplant. Tell us about how this came about and the difference this has made to you.
Yes, that is correct, I received a kidney transplant in early August. This occurred when I received a phone call from the transplant team in the early hours in the morning. I would undergo a number of tests to ensure my body is ready for transplant. If it wasn’t, I would be put on dialysis to make sure my body was in top condition for the operation.
Thankfully, the tests all came back absolutely fine and didn’t require further dialysis. The second I woke up from the transplant operation, I already felt a huge difference within my body even though I was still feeling groggy! It’s amazing what the human body can do.
How tough have the past three years been while you have undergone treatment and what have the biggest challenges been?
The whole ordeal has been tough as my only kidney was no longer functioning and diagnosed as final stage kidney failure.
Dialysis was able to keep me going until a suitable transplant was available. If dialysis didn’t exist, I wouldn’t be here today. The only downside was the physical and mental struggle of the dialysis due to the side effects after the treatment, and this was what I would have to endure three times a week, every five hours.
This also affected my snooker performance due to endurance of a competition or practice. I had to reduce my practice times because of the treatment.
Following your successful transplant, you are now planning to enter the British Transplant Games next year in Leeds. Tell us more about that.
The day after the operation, I contacted the Edinburgh team requesting to participate to compete in the Transplant games, as one of the events they had, is snooker.
My aim is to compete in the snooker event representing Edinburgh in hope of being successful in the event and hopefully bringing home a medal!
How much are you looking forward to getting back to a snooker table competitively and being able to properly prepare and practice for tournaments in the future.
I am very much looking forward to returning to snooker once I am no longer required to be under isolation. I was able to get two weeks practice in just before I go the kidney transplant. This was after five months away from being a table at a time and I was able to make consistent breaks of 30-79 on a five-star table based in Bathgate.
The second I am able to go out and practice, I will be practising four or five times for the first two weeks to catch up and settle down back to three times a week with three hours practice each session.
How did you first become interested in snooker and what made you decide it was a sport that you wanted to play?
I was interested in a very young age. At first it was a hobby as karate was my priority as I was competing nationally and internationally whilst representing Scotland. But after the diagnosis of kidney failure, I was focusing more on snooker because my body would no longer be able to keep up with the physical aspects of karate.
What was interesting was as I focused on snooker more, it became a dedication than a hobby when it turned out I was performing much better when I put practice in. I already made a century within a matter of weeks after my first WDBS event in Hull 2017.
What have been your most memorable experiences as a WDBS player so far?
Being selected as a player representative for Group 8 and seeing WDBS on television alongside the World Seniors Snooker Tour. So many memories to choose from but these two are my most memorable experiences.
What would your message be to Group 8 players who might have any issues that they would want to raise through you?
Please do not be shy in coming forward for any issues of matter you have, no matter how big or small. My role is to represent and support Group 8 and assist with any issues to be discussed with the Board of Directors.
Don’t be afraid to ask for me about any queries, whether big or small!
Away from the baize you have many other interests including karate as you have mentioned – tell us more about that.
I study karate on a daily basis, in my peak before my condition worsened, I was training five times a week, along with hitting the gym and doing 5km runs on a weekly basis.
Under isolation I have taken up cooking and have returned to PC gaming to help pass the time.
What would your message be to anyone with a disability who might be thinking of giving snooker a try and potentially coming to a WDBS Open Day or entering a competition?
Come on over! Every WDBS event organised is amazing to partake in, whether competition or an open day. Don’t be shy, WDBS is for everyone, you will feel very welcome.
Thank you to David for his time – we look forward to seeing him and all of our players in 2021!
Article originally posted by World Disability Billiards and Snooker.