A BRAVE teenager will lace up her football boots for the first time in eight months tomorrow after making a full recovery from crippling curvature of the spine.
It’s been a long road to fitness for Redditch girl Amelia Hart, whose family raised £81,000 in less than three months for spinal straightening surgery known as Vertebral Body Tethering (VBT) which isn’t available on the NHS.
The 15-year-old’s story first appeared in the Standard in September last year.
She later appeared on Good Morning Britain and also had a charity football game dedicated to her.
Amazingly surgeons were able to successfully correct the curvature in her spine – a condition known as idiopathic scoliosis – which would have crippled her in later life.
Now the talented footballer says she can’t wait to make her comeback playing for Boldmere St Michaels Football Club in Sutton Coldfield on Saturday.
“I was so lucky to be able to have my operation,” she said.
“And this week I’m really looking forward to my first full training session and playing football again.”
Since leaving hospital last year Amelia’s mum, Lisa, says her daughter has gone from strength to strength.
Post surgery, pain management and mobilisation were her greatest challenges but with determination and hard work she has overcome adversity.
“Physiotherapy has helped her regain muscle strength and posture reconstruction,” said Lisa.
“She has also worked virtually with her coach and teammates while building up her fitness and stamina.
“This is what Amelia’s journey has been about, keeping her mobile so she can be active and continue to enjoy her sport.
“We are truly in awe of her bravery and can’t wait to see her back on the pitch.”
To mark Scoliosis Awareness Day in June, Amelia and her family set up a Parliament petition calling for VBT to be made available on the NHS.
The coronavirus pandemic has meant many children suffering with scoliosis have had their operations cancelled and fundraising events impacted.
Lisa added: “We decided to lobby the Government to give every suffering child a chance at new life.
“If readers could get behind this and sign the petition it would mean the absolute world to us.
“It only takes 60 seconds and it could make a difference to many more scoliosis patients and their families.”
See petition.parliament.uk/petitions/300957 to sign.
Although many people have not heard of scoliosis it is not rare. Three to four children per 1,000 need specialist supervision.