Three friends living with a rare muscle-wasting condition have described the difference that wheelchair football has made to their lives.
Bobby Shearer, Kai Gill and David Cook take part in regular weekly sessions at an academy in Hull, Yorkshire.
David and Bobby have been diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, while Kai has limb-girdle muscular dystrophy – a form of the disease which tends to develop more slowly.
The friends are now in their 20s and as their health deteriorates they rely on carers to help them with many day-to-day tasks.
Bobby said: “I’ve always loved football so being able to play wheelchair football is a great release.
“Obviously, we can’t do most sports, but being able to do this makes us really happy. It just makes us feel like normal.”
The young men’s families have also commented on the noticeable difference that the game has made to their lives
Jayne Cook, David’s mum, said: “David was on anti-depressants, but I noticed a massive difference in him straight away after he started doing the football.
“I remember the first time he went and the first thing he told me after was, ‘Wow mum, I absolutely love this’. It has made a huge difference to the boys’ mood and they’re so much happier now. It’s just brought them out of their shells.
“I remember one week football was cancelled and they were all absolutely gutted. They love it.”
The success of the wheelchair football initiative comes on the eve of the Paralympics – undisputedly the greatest showcase for disabled sport in the world.
The Games get underway in Rio this week, with British competitors targeting a medal haul better than what they achieved at London 2012.
EnViva Paediatric Care, our experienced staff can provide complex nurse-managed homecare for babies, children and young people with a range of disabling conditions including muscular dystrophy. For more information about the services we provide, please contact us today.