Hockey Wales Young Ambassador Lily Morgan spoke in front of the EuroHockey General Assembly in Mönchengladbach, Germany last month.
18-year-old Lily was invited to present her journey with autism and her work to encourage other autistic people to participate and feel comfortable in Hockey to the General Assembly. “Speaking in front of the General Assembly, in front of 140 people, was incredible! I was very out of my comfort zone but I’m so glad I did it,” Lily commented.
“I only had five minutes to present, although I do feel like I could have spoken for a lot longer!”
Having started playing hockey when she was ten, Lily became a Hockey Wales Young Ambassador three years later and was diagnosed with autism last summer. Her personal experience has provided her with the inspiration to work alongside Cardiff & Met to develop resources to make Hockey a more accessible sport for people with the same disorder.
"As a coach myself,” Lily told Hockey Wales, “the diagnosis has allowed me to realise how I can develop my knowledge to support those players who are neurodiverse to make them feel more comfortable, with even basic things like utilising equipment, and it's allowed me to see the struggles I did face.”
Ever since, Lily's undertaken fantastic work to support efforts to make hockey as accessible as possible.
“My original vision was to create an inclusive hockey community, a hockey environment which is comfortable for all, and to equip our coaches and staff to be able to provide that inclusivity,” she commented.
“I want to give neurodiverse people a voice. I feel like there’s a negative outlook on neurodiversity, so I want to break that narrative and make sure that everyone can feel equal in the hockey space.”
She has presented to Cardiff & Met coaches and, with their positive feedback, is striving to move forward with her project to equip coaches with the information to ensure that each individual feels comfortable in every hockey session.
“I want a hockey environment in which everyone’s aware of neurodiversity and everyone’s included,” she stated. “I don’t want this project to result in one session a month with the coaches who have the knowledge; I want all our coaches to be equipped with the knowledge, so it has an impact every week, in every session.”
Hockey Wales is delighted with Lily’s efforts and would like to congratulate her on her staggering accomplishments so far. We look forward to further supporting our Young Ambassador and seeing what the future holds.
“I’ve a lot of gratitude for Hockey Wales and their support with everything and getting the ball rolling with the project,” Lily concluded.
Hockey Wales CEO, Paul Whapham, commented: “Lily is an incredible young person, who already has a strong and respected voice in the sport. Hockey Wales staff are working closely with Lily to support her to achieve her ambition and create an inclusive sport for all young people. The next couple of months will be an exciting journey as the concept comes to life.”