• Phil Packer

Paralympian, England & GB Cerebral Palsy Football Captain, Matt Dimbylow, supports the BRIT family

We are delighted that Matt is part of our BRIT Ambassador family to support and improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK.

Matt represented Great Britain in the seven-a-side Cerebral Palsy Football Team at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, he won bronze and silver medal in successive Paralympic World Cups, and then captained the team at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. Matt also captained the England Cerebral Palsy Football team.

Matt Dimbylow - Paralympian, England and GB Cerebral Palsy Football Captain

“Having been involved with football as a player and in administrative roles, and within the charity and sport sectors, for over thirty years, I have spent a great deal of time with young adults and am aware of the increase in mental health challenges faced by so many students and young players. While there has been an improvement in football players speaking about mental health, there is still a long way to go too; it is great to see so many elite athletes uniting as BRIT Ambassadors to have a UK-wide impact on improving young adult and student mental health.

The annual BRIT Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for every UK university, college, specialist college and Students’ Union to enter teams and encourage their students and staff to take part; at home or on campus. BRIT have designed the challenge to be inclusive and enable students and staff of all abilities to take part; by hand-cycling, cycling, wheelchair pushing, swimming, walking, jogging, running, rowing or paddling (canoeing, kayaking or paddle-boarding). This is such a great way for students and staff to be involved in a team feel-good February fundraiser that can improve mental health and fitness.

BRIT are providing inspiration and encouragement to students and young adults through their BRIT Ambassador family; Olympians, Paralympians, sports personalities, adventurers and explorers are uniting to support and improve young adult mental health. I urge our England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales Football players to join our BRIT Ambassador family to promote the BRIT Challenge at universities and colleges of their choice, help destigmatise mental health and champion equality, diversity and inclusion.”

I look forward to encouraging and supporting students and staff at the University of Liverpool as they take on the BRIT Challenge.”

Matt Dimbylow

Paralympian, England and GB Cerebral Palsy Football Captain

Matt Dimbylow - Double Paralympic Games medallist

Matt studied for a Bachelor of Science degree in Movement Science and Physical Education at the University of Liverpool between 1989 and 1992. He then went on to study for a Master’s degree in Business Administration at the University of Liverpool between 1994 and 1995.

As a bright young prospect, he played for the English Universities in the early 1990s, before embarking on a successful semi-professional career with clubs including Kidderminster Harriers and Bromsgrove.

Everything changed for Matt in 2003, when he suffered a head injury whilst playing in a football match. He was later diagnosed with extra pyramidal syndrome; a condition with similar symptoms to Parkinson's disease which affects the parts of the brain that control movement and speech.

As Matt came to terms with the condition, he learned that he may have the chance to take part in the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.

He tried out for the seven-a-side team, for athletes with impairments commonly associated with cerebral palsy. Matt went on to compete for Great Britain in Beijing and took part in the London 2012 Paralympic Games. He was also part of the British team that took medals at successive Paralympic World Cups – bronze in 2010 and silver in 2012. Matt also captained the England and GB Cerebral Palsy Team.

In 2014, Matt was chosen by The Football Association (FA) to be inducted to the National Football Museum Hall Of Fame 'Football For All' category. He received his award from fellow Hall Of Fame member David Clarke, at a ceremony which also saw Michael Owen, Alan Shearer and Patrick Vieira amongst the inductees.

Since 2012, Matt has been Chief Executive of DBA Sport CIC and in 2020, founded Race to the Moon. In 2021, Matt was appointed Non-Executive Director of Cheshire Football Club.