Former Sussex seamer Lewis Hatchett is inspiring others with the remarkable story of how he overcame a disability to become a professional cricketer and is forging a new career as a motivational speaker too. Lewis Hatchett is missing his right pectoral muscle and the two ribs that would have been behind it, which means his chest is visibly sunken on that part of his body, leaving complications that he has to deal with on a day-to-day basis and this is one such case with a very rare condition of Poland Syndrome, which affects one side of the body in different ways and appears in only one in 100,000 births.
It was all started before defying the odds. Hatchett’s right shoulder muscles overcompensated for the missing pectoral, causing these muscles to be over-used and they become fatigued quickly, resulting in aches, burning sensations and headaches daily along with his right chest offering little protection to his right lung and following he was advised as a youngster not to play contact sports.
But it was Hatchett’s determination that helped him to overcome his condition. He spent six years as a professional with Sussex, taking 102 wickets in 53 first-team matches in all competitions, and batting in a bullet-proof vest and then caused a lower back complaint due to which he was advised to retire from the last season.
After going on rest, Hatchett took a course with the help of PCA funding while he was playing – and has also begun a career as a motivational speaker.
Lewis Hatchett said, “The more I have spoken about my condition and my path into the game, the more I have realised how rare this story is. It’s not just relevant to people with disabilities. A lot of the people who have heard me speak don’t have a disability, but tell me that, having heard my story, they realise that they don’t have a reason to complain about things that they think are wrong in their own lives.”
Hatchett worked incredibly hard to make himself the fittest player so that no can use his body against him. He had a specially-designed vest made out of Kevlar to protect the right side of his chest while batting that worked like a bullet-proof while batting.