Footie sessions help Thomas and others

Thomas Cotton and dad James. Picture by Andy Abbott.
Thomas Cotton and dad James. Picture by Andy Abbott.
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An inspirational youngster who is battling back from major brain surgery has been attending special football sessions set up following a three way partnership to help youngsters with disabilities.

Thomas, eight, from Great Whelnetham has the rare condition Rasmussen’s Encephalitis Syndrome which caused daily seizures.

He is recovering from an operation to shut down half of his brain to prevent the seizures. That stopped the seizures but left him with a weakness on his left hand side.

Thomas joins other children who play Sunday football at Bury Leisure Centre. This was set up by Abbeycroft with charity CP Sport to enable youngsters to do football training with their peers.

The initiative came about after exercise classes were run in a pilot scheme for children with disabilities. This was run with Suffolk Community Healthcare, Abbeycroft Leisure and Ipswich Borough Council.

These sessions allowed children wtih cerebal palsy and those recovering from brain surgery to undertake exercise using gym equipment with guidance from physiotherapists and gym staff.

It is hoped that these sessions will be continued if funding can be secured.

Thomas, who was presented to The Queen on her recent visit to Newmarket, also had to undergo three months of intensive rehabilitation and physiotherapy after his operation.

His dad James said: “The gym sessions were excellent because the kids were all in the same situation, they were all equal, and the physical benefits were very apparent.

“The social benefits are fantastic and watching Thomas play competitive football where he is on a level playing field with other children is so rewarding, because he thrives, they all do.”

Ian Evans, Abbeycroft sport development officer, said: “We are dedicated to providing initiatives and activities available to all of the communities encompassing young and old of all abilities.”