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Ethan Walker: Boy with the unbreakable spirit is Germany bound

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Jaclyn knew her son was a fighter and that’s exactly what he did. He spent nearly two months in hospital, unconscious initially, before gradually coming round.

Nicknamed Baby Blue by nurses, he now became Baby Boy Blue once they saw the colour of his eyes.

Between the trauma unit and the intensive care ward it was a long, long road. For six weeks, Jaclyn slept in a chair by his side, with Ethan’s dad and sister nearby.

He was being fed through a tube and his speech was hushed and almost indecipherable.

“He was in the corridor with older patients who were trying to get exercise,” Jaclyn recalls. “He was saying to them, ‘gonna give you a race?’, but they didn’t understand him.

“He was so weak and still quite ill, but you could see his determination to get better. And he was funny. He had a feeding tube, but all he wanted was a burger.”

Ethan’s spirit shone through. His parents never stopped worrying, but they made that journey home and the recovery began in earnest.

His speech slowly improved, his co-ordination came together better than before, the tubes came out and he got that burger.

He was advised to use a walking frame, but that was never happening. He used crutches instead, as a footballer would.

And then he paid a visit to Professor Gordon Mackay, a world-renowned surgeon based in Dunblane. Mackay had been on the books with Rangers in the Graeme Souness era, but sports surgery is where he has excelled.

“When Ethan came to see me, he still had his feeding tube,” Professor Mackay says.

“He had all those other injuries, which were horrendous, plus he had injuries in his knee that were the equivalent of five ACLs. We had to rebuild all his ligaments.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous the way he’s bounced back. After three months, he told me he could jog and I said ‘don’t be silly’. Sure enough, he jogged on the spot.

“Every time I see him, he asks when will he play football again. I can’t promise him anything, but from there we came up with up this idea of cycling to the Euros.”

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