Tuesday, December 30, 2003

It's been a while since I named an Amputee of the Week.

There's no particular reason; I've just been too idle to seek out new candidates.

This week, though, someone caught my eye who made me think it's time AOTW was resurrected for the New Year.

Steve Johnson, from Southport, had his leg amputated above the knee in 1985 after a footballing accident.

Despite losing the limb he went on to become coach of the England amputee football team and was named Amputee World Player of the Year in 1999.

Johnson has just been taken onto the coaching staff at Everton Football Club -- making him the first football coach in Britain with a "disability" to be employed full-time.

(Read an interview with Steve Johnson here.)

Reading through the amputee football rule book I came across some bizarre gems, such as:

"An 'able bodied' individual may tend goal if no arm amputees are available. That individual must keep one arm tucked inside his/her jersey while on the playing field."


"Residual limbs may not be used to advance the ball. That keeps it fair, since someone with longer residual limbs would have a distinct advantage over those with shorter residuals. Incidental contact is OK, but a player may not use the residual limb to trap, block, or pass the ball.

When I had two feet I was the most appalling footballer, so I can only imagine what I'd be like now.

I'm tempted to give it a go, but I'm put off by the fact that the rules state that the game must be played on crutches and without a prosthesis. While I can see this makes it fairer for above-knee amputees to play alongside BKs like me, the thought of trying to last 90 minutes on crutches fills me with dread.

As I said on Boxing Day, I think I'll hold out for a place with the Shrewsbury Town first team instead.

(Find out more about amputee football here, here and here.)

As always, all suggestions for a future Amputee of the Week are extremely welcome.


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