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I was paralysed..now I'm rugby club's player of year; SPORTY TEEN MAKES AMAZING RECOVERY.

Byline: KATE FORRESTER

A TEENAGER who had to learn to walk again after a freak illness left him paralysed has become a champion sportsman. Jake Jones, 14, has just been named Player of the Year by Denbigh Rugby Club - but this time three years ago he was confined to a wheelchair.

The youngster was struck down with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, a disease of the brain and spinal cord, in January 2009.

Parents Medwyn and Delyth said the Ysgol Glan Clwyd pupil had been feeling ill for weeks and woke up one morning unable to move.

"His entire body was just shaking and we took him straight to Glan Clwyd hospital," Delyth said.

"The doctors ran all kinds of tests and kept him in, then transferred him straight to Alder Hey.

"When we got there, no-one seemed to know what was wrong with him.

"He had no feeling in his lower body at all - they were running feathers over him to see if he could feel anything and there was just nothing.

"We were asked if he had been bitten, if we lived near a forest, if we had been abroad.

"It was not clear to anyone what was wrong with Jake and we were absolutely beside ourselves with worry. It was horrendous."

Specialists eventually diagnosed Jake's condition, which causes inflammation of the spinal cord, but were unable to pinpoint exactly how he had picked it up.

He was unable to do anything except lie flat on his back in a hospital bed for 10 days, but gradually sensation started to return.

"He had to learn to do everything all over again with aqua and physiotherapy," added Delyth, who lives in Denbigh and is also mum to 12-year-old Lois.

"They discharged him after three weeks because the doctors felt being in a home environment would help him.

"But he was in a wheelchair for four months and had to return to hospital for physiotherapy several times a week."

Jake, who has been a keen swimmer since the age of seven, was allowed to return to school part time in June 2009 and has miraculously made a full recovery.

It was his second battle with serious illness after being struck down with meningitis when he was just two weeks old.

But despite his ordeal, Jake came home from school one day last year and told his mum and dad he wanted to take up rugby.

Delyth said: "At first we were really worried and thought it would be too risky, given everything he has been through. But he was determined to do it and joined Denbigh Rugby Club 14s. Since then, he has played in every game and has captained the team three times. He is also a member of the north east Wales squad and has played in tournaments.

"When we heard he had been named player of the year, we were absolutely over the moon.

"He is so brave and we're so proud of him. It's all down to Jake's fighting spirit and ability to battle through anything.

"It just goes to show that anyone can achieve anything if they put their mind to it and we hope Jake's story will inspire other young people."

kate.forrester@dailypost.co.uk

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Jake Jones from Denbigh who has recovered from a back injury to play rugby again
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 23, 2012
Words:557
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