Tom is a member of the Bolton Wanderers Disability Football Club and enjoys playing football under the guidance of the coaches in the Community Trust.
On #AutismAwarenessWeek, his mother Jen Bracegirdle spoke to bwct.org.uk about her son’s story and how being involved in football has helped him to improve his personal skills and his physical wellbeing.
‘Tom has autism and struggles with his fine and gross motor skills and spatial awareness.’
‘Since starting football with the Bolton Wanderers Disability Football Club, his balance has improved greatly and he is able to control a ball with accuracy and confidence.’
‘He absolutely loves these sessions where he gets to meet up with his friends and learn to play as part of a team.’
‘Every Player Counts has opened up the world of football to Tom and he now has a season ticket for the home matches and plays football at school on a daily basis.’
‘His fitness levels have spiralled and he no longer complains that his legs are aching when he has to walk a short distance.’
‘This scheme has given Tom self-esteem, a sense of achievement and the ability to accept defeat. The coaches are highly skilled and with their boundless energy, and enthuse the children to reach their potential developing their ability to play football with skill.’
‘This is the best thing about Every Player Counts. It is not just a kick around with a ball. They are structured and planned sessions led by specialised coaches who work hard to teach and develop football skills so that the children can improve within the enjoyment of the game.’