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READ | Ex-stadium security guard Mick Gladwin called-up to represent GB visually impaired baseball team in Italy

17 November 2022

Club News

READ | Ex-stadium security guard Mick Gladwin called-up to represent GB visually impaired baseball team in Italy

17 November 2022

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"Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start."

Rotherham United have been incredibly proud to learn of the international exploits of our former stadium security guard Mick Gladwin, who was recently selected to represent a visually-impaired baseball team out in Italy.

An ‘international call-up’ of any kind is something to be celebrated greatly, but what we believe makes Mick’s efforts even more impressive is the fact that he only began adjusting to life with a disability in the last couple of years.

Mick was a highly-popular and well-respected member of the security team who oversee AESSEAL New York Stadium on a day-to-day basis and, as his colleagues, we were incredibly saddened to hear of his diagnosis of a degenerative condition which would eventually see him lose the majority of his sight and subsequently, have to leave the club.

Such a significant life hurdle would provoke the need to make notable adjustments to his everyday life, such as learning to walk with a stick and everything else that many of us take for granted in our daily existence.

Mick Gladwin 4.jpg

Mick, however, was always a positive person and would often lift the mood of those around him at AESSEAL New York Stadium and, despite his diagnosis, was keen to ensure that he was able to not just continue to enjoy his life, but to ensure he would make the absolute most of every day.

Having always been an active person, he turned to sport once more for a way to do just that and through the help of Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind, Mick was introduced to baseball. He had always had a ‘can do’ attitude throughout his life and despite having never played baseball before, his approach was simply: ‘I’ll have a go.’

"There's no age limit to visual impairment, so they [SRSB] try to put a lot of things out there for people in different age groups to get a range of people interested,” Mick told

"They've started a bingo, a coffee morning, for the older generation. But they also do events like shooting and archery for younger folks. They do ten-pin bowling, visually impaired football, a walking group - just so many things that you can get involved in. And it's trying to get people out of their four walls as well.

"I heard them say they were going to introduce baseball. I thought 'I'll have a go'. They had a couple of coaches come over from Manchester, who coach the Great Britain and England teams. So they've been coming over every fortnight.

"It was just one of those sports that I really took to - whether it was the way that they were coaching it in such a relaxed manner, I don't know.

“Rather than telling you that you were doing it wrong, they'd just suggest different ways to try.

"I soon got the nickname of 'Slugger'. While we were in the sports hall, there were a few people that went up to the roof, and found that I'd actually got some of the balls lodged into the roof - they eventually got them back!”

Mick Gladwin

Having already overcome one major hurdle, Mick was handed a setback, as a torn calf muscle ruled him out of playing for a considerable amount of time.

Prior to the injury, there were hopes of establishing a Paralympic team and that dream would soon become a reality.

"When we first set out, one of the coaches mentioned that one of their goals was to establish a Paralympic team, so I think that stuck in the back of my mind.

"When I was running from third base to fourth base, I felt as though someone had hit me with a bat - I'd torn my calf muscle!

“That ruled me out for the next few weeks and – due to low numbers - they had to cancel the baseball as a result. I got a phone call halfway through my recovery telling me that there was potentially some good news for me, but I had to keep it under my hat, I assumed the news was that the baseball was back on!

“But then, they told me I’d been picked for Great Britain to play over in Milan and we’d be travelling at the start of October – all I could think about, was my leg. From there I did everything I could to get to full fitness, gym work, light training and swimming and thankfully, the hard work paid off.”

"The funding for our flights and our accommodation was sorted out by SRSB, and all our transfers, our food, our coaching, and anything else in between was sorted out by the Italian squad.”

Mick Gladwin 1.jpg

Mick’s story is one that proves that anything is possible, not matter what your circumstances.

True to character, he is hoping that his story can help inspire others and whilst feeling justly proud of himself for everything he’s achieved, he insisted that if he can get just one person out of the house to chase their dreams, than it would all have been worth it.

"When I pulled that shirt on I felt like a new person. It was an honour really, just to put on that shirt and play against this side was just out of this world,” he explained.

“I don’t think it really hit me until we got there and were getting ready to play, that this was all real. To come on a journey like this in the visually impaired world, it is massive.

"After it all settled down, I did sit down and let what I had been through all sink in. I knew it was a big achievement, not many people get to experience it. It's only been 16 or 17 months since I lost my sight in both eyes, so to manage to get to this stage already is a big achievement for me I think."

Mick Gladwin

"However, I don't like to take glory for myself, I would rather do it for other people. There's people out there that are stuck in four walls and think they can't do anything, so if I can get one person to get out the house and try something new it would be worth it. I've gone through an experience where I've pushed myself and other doors have opened.

"The new goal now after coming back from Italy is to establish our own baseball team when the season starts. There's two different teams - a Great Britain team and an England team. The England team does more competitive international games, whereas the Great Britain team takes part more in friendlies.

"So, to step up again and get into the international team would be absolutely unbelievable. It would be something I would love to do if my age lets me.

"I'm thankful to so many people for the opportunities I've had; SRSB for proving the foundations, the coaches for seeing something in me and believing in my ability, our own coaches for the same reasons, Annette who has been the driving force in all of this, she's been so enthusiastic being a sports trainer herself."

Mick Gladwin

“I have that many people to thank that I could go on forever.”

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