BRAVE teenager Amelia Hart said playing without pain was an amazing feeling as she returned to football last Saturday after eight months out recovering from life-saving spine surgery.
Her family raised £81,000 in less than three months for the private procedure known as Vertebral Body Tethering (VBT).
The appeal for Amelia, who lives in Alvechurch and attends South Bromsgrove High School, first featured in the Standard last September.
The 15-year-old later appeared on Good Morning Britain and also had a charity football match dedicated to her.
Amazingly surgeons were able to successfully correct the curvature in her spine – a condition known as idiopathic scoliosis – which would have crippled her in later life.
The talented footballer loved every minute of her first training session back with Sutton Coldfield club Boldmere St Michaels.
Amelia said: “It went really well – it was amazing to play without pain for the first time.
“I’m absolutely buzzing and can’t wait to line up in my first match back.”
Boldmere has some pre-season friendlies planned for next month provided the go ahead is given for games to take place.
Amelia’s mum Lisa said: “She was so excited – she was all ready to go half-an-hour before which is unheard of.
“She has been doing a lot of core and back exercises everyday which has improved her posture and strength but you never really know how it’s going to be until you get out there playing.
“She made it through the full two-hour session with no problems and we thought she might have some aches and pains the next day but she was fine.”
On the back of last month’s Scoliosis Awareness Day, Amelia and her family set up a Parliament petition calling for VBT to be made available on the NHS.
The pandemic has meant many children suffering with scoliosis have had their operations cancelled and fundraising events impacted.
Lisa added: “We decided to lobby the Government to give every suffering child a chance at new life.
“If readers could get behind this and sign the petition it would mean the absolute world to us.
“It only takes 60 seconds and it could make a difference to many more scoliosis patients and their families.”
See petition.parliament.uk/petitions/300957 to sign.
Although many people have not heard of scoliosis it is not rare. Three to four children per 1,000 need specialist supervision.