Breaking barriers

PUBLISHED: 07:39 25 November 2019 | UPDATED: 07:39 25 November 2019

Evie Goddard-Appleby 3

Evie Goddard-Appleby 3

Archant

Five days after having an operation for a curvature of her spine, 13-year-old Evie Goddard-Appleby walked out of hospital counting the days until she would be back in the saddle and running up and down the hockey pitch.

At the beginning of 2019 life 
was good for the sporty teenager 
from Portishead. Evie was on the England Player Pathway for hockey, 
had been offered a scholarship at Blundell's School in Devon and with a Jamaican grandmother, she was also on track to join the Jamaican team in hope of representing Jamaica in the Olympics one day.

Evie's mother, Caz Goddard, said: "Evie was doing so well at both her academic studies and at sports, but we noticed if her horse stopped at a jump, she would fall off every time. She just didn't seem to be sitting straight in the saddle. Then all of a sudden we noticed quite a dramatic sideways curve in Evie's spine."

Evie was diagnosed with scoliosis and was told she needed an operation to correct the curve.

Caz continued: "It couldn't have come at a worse time for Evie, she was training hard in two of her favourite sports and was excelling in both."

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty. In severe cases, pressure on the spinal cord may cause loss of coordination in the muscles of the legs, making it difficult to walk normally.

Surgery was scheduled and as Evie was wheeled off to the operating theatre Caz and Evie's dad Kevin couldn't help but worry about what the future held for her sporting dreams.

The morning following the surgery, as another patient who had undergone the same operation lay dozing in her bed, Evie was sitting up asking when she would be able to go home and how long it would be before she could get back to her sports.

"Her determination to get back to school and sport was unbelievable and I am very proud of her" said Caz "I'm sure that aided her recovery."

Evie walked out of the hospital unaided and five weeks later she completed a 5k walk to raise funds for Children's Hospice South West. After three months she was back competing in her favourite sports. Evie's consultant described her as a most inspiring child.

Caz continued: "We wanted to share this story is because scoliosis is not uncommon and we want other young people to know that with the right attitude and care it doesn't have to take long for a full recovery."

With grade A exam results, being back on the England Player Pathway and intent on joining the Jamaican national team, Evie says it's all about being focussed. She said: "Not getting my fitness back after surgery was never an option for me, I was determined to get back to sport as soon as I possibly could. I am lucky to be good at the sports I love and achieve academically too, but I work extremely hard to get the results I get and have to be very focussed to ensure I stay on top of my game. It just so happens that I love it all and I'm sure my attitude contributed hugely to my speedy recovery back to full health." n

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