Paralysis Doesn’t Stop Gary Parkinson From Scouting For Middlesbrough

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Written By Chris Azzopardi

Considering he was waylaid by a stroke last September, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that Gary Parkinson’s career as a scout was over. Particularly because Parkinson’s specific form of stroke, called “locked-in syndrome” leaves him aware of his surroundings but completely unable to move or communicate verbally. Only Gary’s eyes remain in his control, and it’s his eyes with which he communicates to continue his scouting career for Middlesbrough.

Parkinson was the head of the youth program at Blackpool when the stroke hit. The club’s players dedicated a 2-0 win over Newcastle to him, and wore t-shirts with a message of support. After moving to a rehabilitation center in Bury, Parkinson was approached by Middlesbrough manger Tony Mowbray to help the club evaluate potential signees. Using a rating system devised by his wife in which Parkinson lifts his eyelids to give players he scouts via DVD a one to four score, Parkinson gives his expert opinion on players Middlesbrough is considering.

“A DVD comes down to us, with a sheet of paper. There is a description of the player, his name, his age, his position and the clubs he has played for. Gary still loves his football, knows all about youth football from his time as the youth coach at Blackpool, and you can see he picks up when he is doing it. I have done it with him and so has my son, Luke.”

After visiting Parkinson, Mowbray recognized that the former Middlesbrough defender still had the ability to assess players through video, and asked him to take on the role. While Parkinson is unable to use his body, his mind and a little ingenuity allows him to remain a part of the game he loves.

Amazing.

Source: The Guardian

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