Engage: The Fall and Rise of Matt Hampson, written by award-winning journalist Paul Kimmage and published by Simon & Schuster, has been named as the British Sports Book Awards overall 'Sports Book of the Year' for 2012 after a public online vote.
Sports book fans were invited to name their favourite from the winning titles in each category from the British Sports Book Awards.
Engage, deemed by the awards judges to be the best biography of the year at last month's British Sports Book Awards ceremony at the Savoy Hotel in London, tells the moving story of Matt Hampson, a promising young rugby player who was paralysed from the neck down after an accident in an England training session.
Remarkably, Hampson has adjusted with enormous courage to a limited everyday life. He is constantly attached to breathing equipment because the damage to his body left him unable to inflate and deflate his lungs unaided yet attended the awards dinner alongside Kimmage.
Mick Dennis, who chaired the BSBA biography judges, commented: "At the heart of Engage is a remarkable and inspiring story. You have to overcome that thought of 'do I really want to read that?'. Yes, you do! It’s outstandingly written and a life affirming book."
Kimmage, the former professional cyclist and a past winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year, said that writing Engage was "easily the most difficult thing I’ve ever done but also the most satisfying.
"It’s a great honour to win from such a strong shortlist of books but the real buzz is being able to share this award with Matt, a great friend and the most courageous and inspiring person I’ve ever met.”
Hampson himself commented: “The response we have received from all walks of life since the release of Engage has been overwhelming. We are delighted to receive this award, especially as it was voted for by the general public. Paul and I hope Engage will continue to inspire and touch many more people.”
Matt Hampson now works to offer help, advice and support to the victims of serious injury and disability, in particular in a sports context, through his charity The Matt Hampson Foundation. To learn more or make a donation, visit www.matthampsonfoundation.org
All the category winners from the 2012 British Sports Book Awards, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, are described on this page, in the right-hand column.
Read more about Engage: The Fall and Rise of Matt Hampson.
Books by Paul Kimmage