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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 3 June, 2020
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Boy finds 'group he belongs to' in amputee football team after losing leg in accident aged 5

Niamh Dufficy said an amputee football team has inspired her son.

CONOR LOST HIS left leg after he fell under a ride-on lawnmower at his grandparents’ house 10 months ago aged five.

His mother Niamh Dufficy said that on the day of the accident, “We didn’t know if he was going to make it.

“Conor was taken by helicopter from Limerick to Cork…I was so relieved he was alive.”

Speaking to Ryan Tubridy on RTÉ 2FM, she said: “We were heartbroken but we had a little boy who needed us so we had to be strong and positive for him.

We were honest with him and we told him we loved him but that his body was different now because he had a short leg and we loved his short leg because it was part of him.

She described as ‘shocking’ the first time she saw Conor’s short leg. “The word amputee had never entered my vocabulary and then my son was one.”

‘You are the reason we have Conor’

The advanced paramedic who provided advanced life support for Conor in the back garden told the show:

I’m 16 years in the service and that was one that stuck in my mind and took us the professionals some getting over as well.

A tearful Niamh said thank you to him adding, “People like Padraic are the reason we have Conor.” He said:

“We rarely have an opportunity to make a profound difference. It’s now great to hear he’s rallying on and doing so well.”

Niamh added that Conor remembers those people that day. “He remembers going in the ambulance and going in the helicopter and he talks to us about it.

I’m sure when he’s an adult he’ll come to understand how important people like Padraic are.

Inspiration 

Dufficy explained how she was having difficulty getting Conor out of his wheelchair and onto crutches:

“We had crutches in the house and we were encouraging him but he was nervous and reluctant to get on them. He was scared he would hurt himself.”

She said that the local community held a fun day for Conor and The Irish Amputee Football Association (IASA) came down to Moate in Westmeath to meet him.

It was the first time we had met another amputee and it was the first time Conor had seen somebody with a short leg like himself using crutches.

“About two days after he met them Conor got out of his wheelchair and started using crutches so that’s how inspirational they were.”

Conor is no longer able to play in the football team he was in and he wanted to play Rugby but he can’t. He now plays with the IASA and they train every second Saturday.

What matters is that Conor has found a sport he can play and we have found a group we can belong to.

Speaking about his first training day, Dufficy said:

“What was lovely was that Jack, one of the others in the team, was at the same stage as Conor and they were due to get their prosthetic legs a couple of weeks later. Conor had a link then with somebody who was at the same stage as him.

While it’s not a support group, it’s a sport for the children…from a parents point of view it was a huge support and a place you could go to talk and let off steam and laugh.

“We were in no fit state to go looking for clubs when this happened Conor. I’m appealing to anyone listening who knows of an amputee to appeal to the parents to try and get involved.”

Read: “He gets emotional about the idea of him going home but not being able to”>

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