21 September 2008

Cricketer Grace, 12, beats spinal condition

When Grace Tebbatt was born with a spinal condition, her parents feared she could be crippled for life.
However, with determination and the help of a team of medical specialists, she has beaten the odds to become a talented cricketer.
Grace, 12, from Mountsorrel, was born with scoliosis, which causes a curvature of the spine.
Three or four in every 1,000 children have the condition. In most cases it corrects itself, but a small number need surgery to stop it getting worse and damaging the spine, chest, pelvis, heart and lungs.
Doctors at Leicester Royal Infirmary spotted the condition in Grace when she was 19 weeks old.
At three, she had an operation to fuse her lower vertebrae and give her greater flexibility.
The operation was a success and she is now able to run around like any other child her age.
This summer, she was picked for Leicestershire under-13 girls cricket team as a fast bowler and also plays against boys for Barkby United Cricket Club.
Grace, who attends Vale of Catmose College, in Oakham, said: "I love playing cricket and I'm really thankful for all the support I've received from my family, friends and doctors.
"Thankfully, I'm able to play sport. Some people with scoliosis aren't quite so lucky."
Her dad, Mark, who plays for and coaches Barkby United, said Grace was a very active child despite the setback early in her life.
He said: "We would always let her run around at a young age. She really enjoyed swimming, too, and, thankfully, her back never really got worse.
"We had to be careful and constantly watch her back, because Grace's shoulders and hips were out of alignment.
"I'm really grateful the condition was spotted early because she loves playing sport and, thanks to the treatment she's received, she can do that.
"With many people, if scoliosis isn't treated early, they can suffer severely."
Members of the Barkby United cricket team's senior side are embarking on a 92-mile charity bike race – partly in support of the British Scoliosis Research Foundation.
They have raised more than £3,500 so far and hope to have at least £5,000 before they set off next Saturday.
The ride begins at the cricket club grounds and finishes in Hunstanton, on the north Norfolk coast.
John Hollis, who helped organise the charity event, said 10 players would be taking part.
He said: "We're going to use some of the money to pay for an artificial pitch at the club, which we really need.
"The rest will go to charity. We all know Grace and her dad and we all know what a great cause we're cycling for."
Dad Mark said: "We've been training seriously since April.
"It's been a struggle but it's a joy to feel fitter."
As well as becoming a fast bowler, Grace is a keen martial artist.
She is due to take her green belt exams in taekwondo in the next few weeks.

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