A seven-year-old who had his right leg amputated after being born with a one-in-a-million bone deficiency has been selected by the England Amputee Football Association to be part of the GB Junior squad at the first European Amputee Football Federation Junior Camp in Dublin.
Rio Woolf, dubbed ‘baby bladerunner’, was born with tibial aplasia, which resulted in his right leg being amputated through the knee.
However, that hasn’t prevented the football fanatic playing his favourite sport – and training with the London Amps – a London-based amputee football team. And now he’s been put forward to the EAFA after just one session with the club.
Playing football since his first ‘ampuversary’, three months after his second birthday, his mother Juliette said: “I couldn’t be prouder of him. It’s a dream come true. He’s always said he wants to become a Premier League footballer.
“He’s very ambitious and we’ve always encouraged him to dream big. Everything he’s dreamed of doing so far has come true. He’s always wanted to grow up and play for either Watford or Arsenal – although Rio is a bit torn between being a top Paralympian or a Premier League footballer!”
One of only a dozen seven to-16-year-old amputee footballers selected to attend this week’s Dublin event for GB, the Hartsbourne Primary School pupil will now be in line to take part in the first ever Junior Amputee Football Festival in the British Isles in the West Midlands on 11 June.
Juliette added: “He’s been counting down the sleeps. He’s very excited and can’t wait to go.”
Rio’s parents are raising money to provide him with lightweight prosthetic limbs so he can follow his sporting dreams.