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We are delighted to announce that our client Philip Grace has been selected to become a member of the England Amputee Football Association (EAFA) Senior Provisional Squad, ahead of the European Amputee Football Federation Championship 2020, in Krakow, Poland.
Philip suffered a serious injury resulting in the amputation of his right arm from the mid forearm down in January 2014. At the time of the accident, Philip worked at a recycling plant as a fabricator welder and had been tasked with repairing a hopper machine. The day before he had been asked to do some work on the same machine during one or two 30-minute periods when the plant is brought to a halt for maintenance work. However, he was told that he would not be necessary to shut down the plant in this instance, but he could instead simply disconnect the pump to the vibrator, and this would be sufficient in terms of isolation. Philip had to crouch down below the machine to do the work and around him were a number of conveyor belts. The working conditions were cramped. Philip lost balance and put his hand out to steady himself by placing his hand on the conveyor belt and was pulled into a tail end roller resulting in his right hand being immediately severed.
However, Philip has not let this life-changing injury get in the way of doing what he loves most, and he has been a very active member of Everton FC Amputees team since September 2016, where he plays in goal. Just recently, Philip competed in the inaugural European Amputee Football Federation (EAFF) Champions League for Everton, where he was named as 'Goalkeeper of the Tournament'. Philip said:
It was like a dream come true when I first put on the Everton kit - since that day things have just got better and better. I must admit, it is a bit surreal visiting Everton's training ground and mixing with the first team players, they are always happy to chat with you! I have also been lucky enough to win 'Player of the Year' for EFC Amputees twice, both times the award was presented to me by players from the first team which was fantastic.
I'd have to say my biggest achievements during my time with Everton have been winning the two league medals and of course this years FA Disability Cup medal - as I always say, I am nothing without my teammates. They have helped me improve since day one and mixing with fellow amputees has been a major part of my rehabilitation, not just physically but mentally too - which brings me to my England selection! I have to thank my Everton team mates for all of their support. I was so made up when I got the call up and my family are so proud of me, especially my son!
I know it is going to be a lot of hard work, with plenty of training and some sacrifices will have to be made along the way - but this is a lifetime opportunity (and I am not getting any younger!) so I could never waste this chance! The whole experience so far has been incredible.
Both the Everton Amputee team and EAFA depend on sponsorships donations and fundraising to keep the teams going and to be able to compete in some fantastic tournaments, such as the aforementioned European Amputee Football Federation (EAFF) Champions League.
Philip himself has recently completed an 11,000ft Skydive to raise money for Everton in the Community (EitC), Everton FC’s official charity which founded and helps to fund the amputee side, and has also taken part in [insert list of fundraising activities if possible].
Amputee football is a lifeline for many people who have suffered limb loss, giving them the chance to meet and compete with others who have gone through a similar experience.
Everton FC Amputees is managed by EitC disability manager and former World Amputee Footballer of the Year, Steve Johnson. The team gives all amputees, as well as people with congenital limb deficiencies and persons with restricted use of limbs, with the opportunity to play football. More information on Everton FC Amputees can be found here.
We wish Philip the best of luck in the run up to the 2020 European Amputee Football Federation Championships!