According to the local reports, Paul Cassidy announced, “I could barely move but after two years of rehabilitation I was able to walk again”.

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Paul Cassidy took two years of rehab to get him back on his feet and he has been left with life-changing impairments. A Belfast man who learned to walk again following a severe brain injury is fielding for Northern Ireland in the Cerebral Palsy Football European Championship.

He said: “I was knocked unconscious when I fell from a garage roof while cleaning the windows of a neighbor’s home. I had to be rushed to a hospital and my injuries were so severe the doctors initially gave me eight hours to live. When I finally awoke my whole world had been turned upside down. I could barely move but after two years of rehabilitation, I was able to walk again. Now he is getting ready to play for his country in Holland”.

The 29-year-old added: “Although I have been left with a permanent brain injury, I’ve never let it hold me back and I can’t wait to experience playing in Holland.

“Everyone in the team really pushes each other so being selected to compete at this high level is a reflection of the dedication of every single member of the Irish Football Association team.”

Paul’s acquired brain injury means he qualifies for CP Football as he has mobility and cognitive impairments. They said in a statement they “are delighted the world is getting to see how talented he is” and “wish the team great success at the Championship”. Ten countries will be competing for the European trophy. I will face Holland, Germany, Republic of Ireland and Denmark in a tough qualifying group.

Paul added: “I genuinely can’t thank the Housing Executive enough for giving me the support I need not only at work but to allow me to pursue my passion for football as well.

The Housing Executive worker has been training hard with the squad for four years, and in the run-up to the competition has been hard at work six days a week.

But he will soon be swapping his name badge for his passport when he heads off to compete on Saturday. His colleagues at the Lisburn Dairyfarm office are over the moon at his achievement.


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