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South London Stories: Meet Stanley

The power of powerchair football

10-year-old Stanley from south London has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). It is the most common and severe form of muscular dystrophy, and causes all of the muscles in the body to gradually weaken, leaving those affected relying on the use of a wheelchair.

There are 2,500 people living with DMD in the UK and 20,000 children are born with the rare disease each year, but that doesn’t mean it should stop young people from enjoying sport and other activities. At Palace for Life, we offer weekly powerchair football training sessions, that help participants focus on their chair movability, ball control, passing, teamwork and tactics, as well as the chance to play for Crystal Palace Powerchair F.C. in the Wheelchair FA’s South East regional league.

Stanley recently started playing powerchair football for the Crystal Palace Powerchair F.C. side, and is enjoying time away from his computer and the chance to represent the Eagles.

Since playing powerchair football, Stan’s whole mindset has changed, and is aiming to claim his spot in the England side.

Rob, Stanley’s Dad said:

“I have seen a huge change in our son’s personality and belief since he started playing powerchair football. Beforehand it was all pretty much doom and gloom but now his world has opened up with other possibilities he never dreamt of, and this has really changed his mindset. And for the first time in his life he has a goal – to play for England. This belief, want and interest has really changed him for the better.”

Powerchair football is fast-moving indoor game, played in a four-a-side format and offers those who rely on electric wheelchairs to access the beautiful game. Because it’s played on electric wheelchairs, the game allows people of all ages, disabilities and genders to compete together.

Powerchair football can provide players with the opportunity to develop transferrable life skills, such as teamwork and communication – it’s a great mental health tool too, enabling participants to be physically and mentally active.

For more information on the Crystal Palace Powerchair football team click here.

To help support young south Londoners like Stanley, click here.

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