Who is Philip, Philly, Flipper?
Philip “Flipper” Caldwell, 38 years of age, rugby enthusiast was born and bred in Celbridge has always been known for his speed both on and off the pitch.
Philips’s love of rugby started in his local club, Barnhall, which he remained in close contact with, returning to coach under 15s until his accident. His school days were spent playing for King’s Hospital. After school he achieved representative honours for Leintster under 21s. He also played for a host of clubs including St Marys, Blackrock, Lansdowne, Darfield (NZ) Cottesloe and UWA (AUS), Clinchers and Japan 2019 Tag teams.
After hanging up his competitive rugby boots, he then turned to the challenge of golf. He joined Killeen Golf Club and has spent many hours practicing. This was done with almost the same vigour, and determination he showed on the rugby pitch. Practicing to make a club representative team is still a goal he has not given up on trying to achieve.
His journey so far:
On the 13th of July 2020, Philip suffered a severe spinal injury which left him with temporary paralysis from the neck down. The accident left him lying in a hospital bed, unable to move, feed or wash himself and losing all independence and left alone with the fear of not knowing if he would ever be able to walk or feed himself again, let alone get back on the pitch or swing a golf club. Philip spent 6 intense months in the care of the incredible Spinal Ward Unit in the Mater Hospital, and the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dun Laoghaire, where they helped him get back on his feet.
Philly was discharged in January 2021 and is now back in the real world learning how to adapt to his home environment. He has made an incredible recovery so far, but he is far from what he was able to do before his accident. Thanks to the support of the Philip Caldwell Trust, he has been able to continue his rehab with a truly strong team of experts who are working with him every day to help build his strength back up. He has had to readapt and is learning to create a new lifestyle for himself. None of this would be possible without the support of a specialised group of trainers and physicians who are tailoring an intensive programme for his continued recovery.
A large part of Philly’s recovery is down to his positive mindset and determination to work hard every day and get back to how he was pre accident as much as possible. Doctors and experts have not been able to tell him what that recovery looks like, but he has a goal and is working damn hard to do his best with all your support.
Since this life changing accident, some of Philly’s closest team mates set up The Philip Caldwell Trust. This led to the creation of the amazing Fill the Aviva for Philly campaign (#Fta4Philly thanks to everyone who has supported so far!), Here the sports community and local communities joined in fundraising for Philly to help him on his road to recovery,
Philly’s story has touched hundreds of people’s hearts so far. Over the past few months, radio stations, schools, companies, have reached out to him to ask him to talk to their audiences to share his journey and experience on his road to recovery and to help others who may be struggling with mental health issues.
Monies donated to the trust will be used to support Philly in his recovery as well as to support various organisations selected by the trust.
Some pics of Philly throughout the years.