Tom Hamilton lights the fire that spurs the Reds
With all the uncertainty shrouding Australian rugby, a bright spark like Tom Hamilton is just what the game needs.
Tom is 32, suffers from cerebral palsy and as a result, is a quadriplegic.
It’s a condition that cripples the body but not the mind and Tom is living, breathing proof of that.
Speak to the man and you will find a brilliant mind that thinks deeply about all facets of life but focuses most on his attention on his one true love – sport.
Cricket is his first love but in winter, rugby consumes him.Reds training sessions aren’t exactly public affairs but among the handful of journalists keeping an eye on proceedings you will see Tom, often with his carer Chris, watching keenly, eyes always following the flow of play.
That’s because he has found a way to articulate his unique takes on rugby through his own blog at redsrugbyrules.blogspot.com.
Tom’s father, Phil, glows when he speaks to the impact the blog has had on his son’s life.
“He always wanted to get into a bit of journalism but it’s his communication – if you were able to get his communication going he would be able to do anything,” he said.
“He usually predicts the outcome of games, he’s got all the capacity in the world.
Tom grew up watching his brothers play at Churchie in the same years Karmichael Hunt, Quade Cooper and David Pocock were students at the famous rugby nursery.
That’s where his love for the game started and that’s how he knew what he wanted to write about when the idea of a blog came to him while travelling through Toronto, Canada.
“We were in Toronto looking at some building setups aimed at Tom’s future when we heard about a young bloke like Tom that started handing out his own newsletters outside the Blue Jays (baseball team) stadium – it turned into a major publication,” Phil said.
“He lives for the Reds games and for training.
“He absolutely loves it and the players really get something out of it too.”
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Tom’s journey has even taken him to Apia this week, where the Reds are preparing for tomorrow night’s clash with the Blues.
His Q and A sessions with Reds players aim to personalise the squad and the smiles on the players’ faces when they speak to Tom tell the true story.
Australian rugby is always searching for its next on field star but it’s the off field gems like Tom Hamilton that make this game mean so much more than wins and losses.