Conor_FitzpatrickJanuary 30 - A Scottish youngster whose life was turned around after he discovered the joy of basketball has been named UK Student of the Year at the Sky Sports Living for Sport Awards.

Fifteen-year-old Conor Fitzpatrick (pictured) of Newbattle Community High School in Dalkeith, Midlothian, went from being a pupil who rarely attended lessons to being a positive, hardworking and integrated member of class and school life after taking up his new sport.

The basketball sessions helped Conor feel less afraid of trying new things, deal with more challenging tasks at school and helped him develop interpersonal skills such as communication and teamwork with teachers and fellow pupils.

Thanks to his involvement in the initiative, Conor has grown in confidence with the sport and is now able to teach and coach younger pupils in classes outside of school.

Conor was presented with his award by Olympic gold medallist Darren Campbell at Lord's Cricket Ground in London.


"Conor's story is a shining example of the positive impact sport can have on young people, and I was delighted to present him with this award in recognition of his hard work and commitment to improving himself and becoming a better student in all areas of his education," said Campbell.

"The ceremony was a reminder of how influential sport can be in the development of young people.

"Sport helped me learn how to channel the focus and determination I have in sport into everything I do – without that influence my life would have been very different.

"This award demonstrates how Conor is equipping himself with the life skills he will need to succeed."

Conor's story demonstrated how Sky Sports Living for Sport, delivered in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, has helped him apply lessons learnt through sport to situations in school and everyday life.

Independent research carried out by the Institute of Youth Sport revealed that 88 per cent of the young people chosen to participate in Sky Sports Living for Sport because of their self-confidence and self-worth have shown a positive improvement.

The impact of such a rich and rewarding school sport experience extends to academic performance, with pupils involved in the initiative performing significantly better academically than their peers.

They performed 14 per cent higher than the national average in English, and four per cent higher than the national average in maths after taking part.

As the UK's overall winner, Conor receives a £100 Adidas voucher, £2,000 towards his school's next Sky Sports Living for Sport project and an additional visit from an athlete mentor.