The family of a boy with Down Syndrome from Kings Langley have hailed a mixed ability rugby club, based in Watford, for changing their son’s life.
Sam Parker, nine, was invited to Fullerians RFC, when he was just six years old, and his mum Lynne said her son was made to feel welcome as soon as he arrived.
She explained: “The coaches, rather than politely moving him off the pitch, gave him a tag belt, assigned him an extra coach so we didn’t have to get on the pitch and support him and got him playing.
“Then came the texts. From more than one individual within the club leadership team saying we’d love to help support Sam in joining the club.”
Sam stayed with the U6s team enabling him to learn the skills and said Sam’s rugby night on Tuesday was her favourite night of the week and said the club has fundamentally changed Sam’s life.
Lynne explained: “Recently, after nine years on their to-do list, Sam was discharged from the care of his cardiologist. Twelve months ago, he was still a candidate for surgery to correct a persistent and problematic pair of holes in his heart.
“The cardiologist asked if there had been any significant changes since we had seen him last. He concluded that the increase of exercise that Sam is taking part in on a weekly basis has been the key.”
Martin Newman, Fullerians director of junior rugby, stated: “Facilitation, support and involvement are encouraged by all, on and off the field. We have an open-door policy for anyone to come and train and play.”