Sunday 8 December 2019

WATCH: 'The first thing I tried was kicking a ball' - Footballer who had leg amputated after horror injury tells inspirational story

Cormac Byrne

A young footballer who lost his leg as a result of an injury he suffered while playing football is using the game for motivation as he deals with his changed circumstances

Alex Lee's life was changed irrevocably when he broke his right leg following a tackle in a game for Mervue United in a Connacht Junior Cup tie last March.

Six weeks and 14 surgeries later, the 27-year-old teacher was told that an amputation below the knee was required.

He has been adjusting to life with a prosthetic limb ever since and has been using the game he loves to help him adapt.

"Football has always played a big part in my life," he told

"When I got my prosthesis one of the first things I tried was kicking a ball. Then when i got home it is just something that I have practiced and can now do 115 'keepy uppies'. It's good to be able to kick a ball and try things that I thought wouldn't be possible again. I'm not as good as my old record of 2000 but I'll keep trying.

"Obviously life has changed massively since last year but I have kept making progress since leaving hospital last April.

"I got an ottobock prosthetic from IDS Cappagh hospital in Dublin and thanks to Sylvain Cosentino and Donna Fisher's guidance I've made great progress.

"I returned to teaching in St. Joseph's College 'the Bish' in October covering a maternity leave which has been great. I go to physio with Dan McCabe doing rehabilitation work once a week and to the gym a couple of times a week to keep fit and build myself back up again."

He recently uploaded a clip on Instagram of himself doing tricks with Ed Sheeran's Castle On The Hill playing in the background.

The opening line of the song is: "When I was six years old I boke my leg".

He posted the clip with the message: "Did someone say get down for 10?  #6 or #26 when I broke my leg? #nevergiveup #football #lovethegame #castleonthehill"

Lee played for Mervue United in the Airtricity League First Division alongside the likes of Ryan Manning, who is impressing for QPR at the moment, and is showing a real knack for it having helped lead the Galway under-15 side to an All-Ireland final last weekend where they were beaten 2-0 by Cork.

"Coaching is something I've always had an interest in," he added.

"I played in the League of Ireland first Division with Mervue United at a good level and some great players who have gone on to play in England like Rory Gaffney and Ryan Manning and I always thought I"'d like to get involved at that level in the future.

I have returned to coaching the Galway and District League under-15 team who lost the inder-15 Irish Cup final last week to Cork. Before Christmas I attended the FAI C licence workshop so hopefully in the future I'll go on to complete my UEFA B licence."

Alex's primary focus is work and regaining his fitness but he has not ruled out a return to the sporting sphere in the future.

"With regards amputee football or the Paralympics I haven't thought too much about them yet. I broke my leg last March and i've been focusing on getting back to teaching, getting my fitness back and just trying to get back to normal but down the line who knows. I've always been competitive and mad into sports so who knows what the future holds."

No matter what the future holds,  he has certainly shown the determination and tenacity to succeed at whatever he aims for.

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