A football-obsessed boy who thought his “life was over” when he lost his foot in a car accident has been helped in his grief by a team of young amputee players.
Big Newcastle United fan Harry Gibson, 10, grew up attending almost every game with his father, Guy, 45, and kicking the ball with his buddies at every opportunity.
When the Newcastle youngster lost his right foot after being hit by a car in May, he felt his dreams shattered and told his devastated parents he felt his life was over, reports the Mirror.
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But after joining the English Amputee Football Association (EAFA) junior team a few months later, Harry realized that the game was not over yet and was able to come to terms with his injury which took changed his life thanks to his fellow gamers and amputees who are now his close friends.
Gas technician Guy said: “We’re both big United fans, we go to every game together.
“He’s been obsessed with football from the moment he can walk.
“He ran down the road and got run over. His foot got stuck under the car and he lost his foot ten days later.
“We were absolutely devastated, all he was saying at the time was ‘I’m not going to be able to play football anymore’.
“He said his life was over.
“It was just heartbreaking and so scary to see him go through that.
“All you want as a parent is to help your kids do what they want.
“The first time we went to meet the EAFA team it was life changing. It gave him purpose and his life was never over.
“I can’t express enough how good this has been for him.
“Playing with EAFA has given him new opportunities with football now.”
In addition to meeting members of the England squad with EAFA, Harry was also contacted by Newcastle United FC and received a Nintendo from his favorite Toon player, Allan Saint Maximin when he lost his foot.
After joining the EAFA junior team, Harry met another player, Max, nine, and his father Chris Lamb, 44, who have been attending amputee football sessions for three years after Max lost his leg as a baby because of amniotic band syndrome.
Chris, from St Helens, Merseyside explained: “We knew from the scans before Max was born that there was a problem.
“The bands wrapped around the limbs normally break, but in Max’s case, they didn’t.
“They amputated his right leg above the knee when he was seven weeks old.
“We started playing with EAFA when he was six or seven – he had never really played football before that.
“His friends all played at school but he felt left out.
“As soon as he started playing with the other amputee children he loved it.”
Now the couple from opposite sides of northern England have formed an incredible friendship and an incomprehensible bond as Max helps Harry accept a new life as an amputee.
IGuy said: “He and Max are very good friends now, he has been of tremendous help to Harry in helping him cope with his injury.
“Being able to talk to other kids with different limbs is a huge thing for them because as a parent who doesn’t have a limb difference it is difficult to fully understand what they are going through.
“When Harry plays with the other amputee players, he tells me, ‘I feel like I belong here.’
Established as a UK registered charity in 1990, EAFA has given people with a difference in membership the opportunity to replay the beautiful game on a level playing field.
The organization welcomes people of all ages, whether they were born without a limb, lost them in active service, or were amputated later in life for other reasons.
Head coach of the junior team, Owen Coyle has been with EAFA since 2013 and helped bring the junior team from its early days into the successful program it is today for footballers aged 4. at 18 years old.
Since then, eight players from the junior program have moved to the national team.
He said: “It has been an amazing journey watching and helping people who have faced challenges in their lives to come together and play football in an inclusive yet competitive environment.
“They learn new skills and make lifelong friends – you can see that with Harry and Max.
“To see the change in people through the program is amazing, we can see them develop on so many levels including in their personal lives and the football part is secondary to that. “
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