Gutsy celebral palsy sufferer Rheed McCracken, 8, with some of the football trophies he has won in his short career.
Gutsy celebral palsy sufferer Rheed McCracken, 8, with some of the football trophies he has won in his short career.

Determined to tackle illness

By GREG CHAPMAN

RHEED McCracken is determined not to let his cerebral palsy send him off the football field.

The eight-year-old's disability could see him sit next season out on the sideline, much to his own disappointment and that of his parents, team-mates and coach.

"He's the most courageous kid I have ever met in my life,'' Rheed's coach David Clarke told the NewsMail yesterday.

Rheed was voted the Player's Player by his West Bundaberg Under-8 team-mates for his brave efforts, but his cerebral palsy could make it dangerous for him to play in the under-9s next year.

He loves playing football.

"It's fun and exciting - I love it,'' Rheed said.

"I love to run and kick and pass the ball and meet new friends.''

Rheed's mother Samantha hoped her son could play next year.

"He loves the Broncos and he goes to training every Saturday - he's really passionate, but he is aware that he may not be able to play,'' Mrs McCracken said.

She said Rheed could have to go to Brisbane next year to see if he would need an operation on his hips, which would prevent him from playing for up to eight weeks.

Rheed's coach David Clarke also is proud of Rheed.

"He wants to be as normal as everyone else and he's an extremely good defensive player,'' Mr Clarke said.

He hoped to see Rheed back on the field, but if not, he would be invited to be a trainer or to learn first aid to help his team-mates.

He has the full weight of his team mates and club behind him as he hopes to take the sporting field again next year and overcome his cerebral palsy.

Western Suburbs Junior Rugby League president Steven Ortt said Rheed would be welcomed back next year if he was given the okay by his doctor.

"He's an example of a kid who's got all the objections against him, but he's beaten it all,'' Mr Ortt said.

Rheed's determination is not only confined to the football field.

He also plays cricket and recently signed up for the West Bundaberg Athletics Club.



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