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Engage: The Fall and Rise of Matt Hampson

4.31  ·  Rating Details ·  207 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
The shocking, controversial, and moving story of Matt Hampson, the rugby player who dislocated his neck and was paralyzed in an England training session


"Engage!" was the last word Matt Hampson heard before dislocating his neck while in rugby training with other young England hopefuls. On a cold, gray day in 2005, the cream of the young English rugby crop gathered at a Nor
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 7th 2011 by Simon & Schuster UK (first published August 12th 2011)
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Oct 18, 2015 Stuart rated it really liked it
Finished this today the version I read was 395 not the 200+ goodreads suggests.

Thoroughly enjoyed the book, such a tragic story but such a great read. Whether that's Hampson's sense of humor or Kimmage's writing style I don't know but I liked it.

I didn't know too much about Hampson, I knew who he was and I heard about his injury at the time but haven't paid much attention to it until my friend lent me the book (a few years ago now) and I finally picked it off the shelf a little over a week ago.

Simon Lipson
Jul 12, 2012 Simon Lipson rated it it was ok
A confession. When I picked this book up in Waterstones, I assumed it was a straightforward, ghost-written autobiography. I knew all about Matt Hampson's awful injury and, while I have little interest in rugby, I thought his story would be compelling. But I'd been impulsive and missed something crucial - the fact that the author was Paul Kimmage. Had I spotted that up front, I'd never have gone near it.

Kimmage, you see, is a mystifyingly garlanded sports journalist (and former pro cyclist) who h
Catherine Howard
Jan 11, 2013 Catherine Howard rated it really liked it

Great book.

Contrary to some other reviews I've read I actually thought Kimmage achieved what should be the ultimate goal in all ghost-writing: to truly become a ghost and make the reader forget that there is anyone between them and the subject—which is exactly what happened to me. I really felt like this was Matt's story, and promptly forget about anyone else's involvement shortly after a mention of Kimmage in Matt's house, getting flustered by the sight of Lance Armstrong's biography (
Barry TurnerNewall
Jun 11, 2016 Barry TurnerNewall rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Matt Hampson was a rising England rugby star when he broke his neck training and was paralysed from the neck down. He was just 20 years of age. The story of that traumatic event and Matt's journey through hell is agonisingly chronicled by Paul Kimmage, a former cyclist who was relentless in his pursuit of cheating in his sport. One of the most shocking things is the venom directed towards Stoke Mandeville Hospital - the national spinal injuries centre that became closely associated with celebrit ...more
Kevin Varney
Jan 29, 2016 Kevin Varney rated it really liked it
I bought this book because I saw the tail end of Paul Kimmage and Matt Hampson being interviewed on Breakfast television several years ago. I wondered why Paul Kimmage would write a book about a relatively unknown sportsman. Paul Kimmage's book, Rough Ride, was my favourite cycling book (though The Rider by Tim Krabbe is pretty good too). I therefore decided to read it.

I thought there were a few dodgy stylistic touches to start. I did not like the sex scene myself. My favourite bits were courtr
Mar 30, 2012 Sam rated it really liked it
I played rugby a lot in my youth and felt duty-bound to pick this up at some point. It's a great read and has some curious twists on the typical autobiography. There's a lot of re-imagined dreamlike scenarios whilst the court proceedings are done in the third-person. I'm sure this is done for dramatic effect but in my mind it ever-so slightly trivalised the circumstances surrounding Matt's tragic accident: I would have been just as interested to read about the formal enquiry process in the usual ...more
Alex Laycock
Nov 03, 2013 Alex Laycock rated it it was amazing
where to start,?FANTASTIC,touching,quite a harrowing tale in some respects,which also compassionately includes tales of others who have had spinal injuries,despite what he has been through this bloke is NOT self centered...makes you realise how we take our bodies for granted,so quickly life can change for anybody,in any situation......huge respect for Matt Hampson and how he coped,including his relatives and friends,what a chap...."engaging" read !....i found it hard to put down,made me also rea ...more
May 30, 2012 Ross rated it really liked it
This is a sports biography, but it isn't. It's like no other sports biography because rather than celebrating a career, the story starts at the end of a career, or rather, the title of the book. The last word Matt Hampson heard before a scrum collapsed on him and he broke his spine.

Confined to a wheelchair, the story of his struggle to come to terms with his new life, and his fight to make a difference despite his disability should be the dictionary definition of 'Inspiring'.
David O'Neill
Apr 02, 2012 David O'Neill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't in love with the dream like sequences but the bulk of the book is excellent. Well worth a read and makes you think how lucky you are, not just the stories of people like Matt who got hurt playing rugby but there are so many people in the book who get seriously injured in what are freak accidents.
Jan 01, 2013 Chris rated it it was amazing
An excellent read, inspiring and horrifying at the same time.

A book for all sports fans.
Mar 10, 2015 Oliver rated it really liked it
Featuring the greatest personification of Satan in all literature, here taking the form of Lawrence Dallaglio in his Wasp kit.
Paul James
May 31, 2013 Paul James rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book make you laugh, and cry (almost) and makes you realise that your life isn't so tough after all.
Jul 12, 2012 Paul rated it it was amazing
what a good alternative from the normal run of the mill sports biographies, full of emotion and humour and how the human spirit and determination to take on a crisis and make the best of it.....
Emer Ni r
Nov 25, 2013 Emer Ni r rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Positive and uplifting, liked how it was presented too
Alison Nickells
Jan 02, 2017 Alison Nickells rated it it was amazing
Amazing story and courage. Great rugby read.
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Paul Kimmage is an Irish sports journalist who, until his departure in early 2012, wrote for the Sunday Times newspaper in the United Kingdom. He is a former professional road bicycle racer. Kimmage was born into a cycling family. [Wikipedia]
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