Teen With Cerebral Palsy Becomes First Girl on Soccer Powerchair Team
She and other players use electric wheelchairs with large front bumpers to push the ball into the opposing team's goals.
Soccer icon Pele once called soccer "The Beautiful Game" and this 19-year-old with cerebral palsy is proving it.
Powerchair football consists of a team of four players on each side using specialized electric wheelchairs with a large front bumper to control and hit an oversized, heavy football to score goals.
The sport is rapidly rising in popularity in the U.K., credited to the fact it offers opportunities for young people of all abilities.
Despite the challenges she faces, Hannah says the sport makes her feel like she can do anything.
"My favorite thing about powerchair football is just being able to play football on a level playing field where disability isn't a barrier,” she said in a statement.
She started playing powerchair football in 2012 after her condition left her unable to play on her feet and recently joined the newly-formed United club.
“I am currently the only girl in my club but I get no special treatment — other teams used to think I was an easy target, but they soon learned looks can be deceiving!” she said.
The powerchair football team and Hannah’s playing skills have caught the attention of some Manchester United players like star defender Eric Bailly, who recently joined a practice session.
“Being part of the club has really helped me in many ways,” she said. “I have gained more wheelchair control, which I am able to use in everyday situations, and I have more confidence in my own abilities.
"I have learnt to be part of a team and have made friends with people who have similar disabilities and of a similar age who have the same interests and enjoy nights out.”
As she continues to hone her skills, the teenager’s love of the game is limitless.
“I’m a normal 19-year-old girl. I have always loved football,” she said. “I just want to be the best I can be.”
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