Ex-Rugby Star’s Dyslexia ‘Cured’

Former Wales rugby captain Scott Quinnell has claimed a controversial treatment which includes exercises with bean bags has cured his dyslexia. In a documentary to be shown on BBC Wales on Tuesday, the former Llanelli and British Lions No 8 is shown undertaking the Dore programme.

The 34-year-old decided to try the treatment because two of his three children are also dyslexic.

“I didn’t want them to go through what I did as a child at school,” he said.

Cameras followed Quinnell over the course of a year as he tackled the drug-free Dore programme.

The treatment aims to stimulate a part of the brain called the cerebellum through regular exercises with bean bags, bouncing on air-filled balls and tying knots in string.

The cerebellum is tangerine-sized part of the brain which co-ordinates movement and balance.

Quinnell decided to try the treatment, which has been both praised and criticised by academics and educational experts, because he read very slowly and had trouble spelling and writing.

“I’ve had fans throw autographs back in my face because I’ve spelt their name wrong,” he says in the programme, called Quinnell’s Last Test.

Before undertaking the treatment, which costs around £1,700, Quinnell had never been able to send an e-mail, use a computer or even write a note for school for any of his three children.

His wife Nicola began writing her husband’s cheques just two weeks after she met him and had been filling in forms and writing his correspondence ever since.

“I thought it was a bit strange to be doing something like that so early in our relationship,” she said.

Two of Quinnell’s children – Steele and Lucy – are also dyslexic and embarked on the programme with their father. They both saw improvements in their school work.

“I want them to be able to do whatever they want to do, rather than have to hide behind a persona,” said their father.

BBC Wales producer Sally Davies said at first Quinnell’s busy schedule as a rugby pundit and after-dinner speaker prevented him from regularly doing the exercises and he made little progress

“But as that classic Quinnell determination kicked in he realised his life was changing,” said Ms Davies.

“For the first time Scott was sending e-mails, writing notes for his children and reading books much more quickly. And the confidence boost it gave him was amazing to witness.”

Quinnell’s Last Test is on BBC Two Wales on Tuesday 20 February, at 1930 GMT.