Inspirational Max, 8, overcomes rare foot condition to achieve sporting dreams
Max Allgood is not your average eight-year-old.
For he was born with a rare condition which could have resulted in him never being able to walk again.
But the inspirational youngster has battled back against the odds to play football for the Chesterfield FC academy and has represented England at martial arts.
And if he needs any sporting role models to look up to then he can take heart that England and Liverpool footballer Steven Gerrard was born with the same condition.
His mum Claire, 43, of Boughton Lane, Clowne, said: “He is a star. He knows what he has been through and how lucky he is.”
Claire was made aware of Max’s condition, bilateral talipes, more commonly known as clubfoot, when she went for a 20-week scan.
She was told that her baby had formed in her womb in a certain position, causing his feet to be pointing inwards and slightly backwards.
Max’s journey started at just nine days old when he attended ‘the Den’ - a purpose built facility at Chesterfield Royal Hospital for children and their families.
He underwent a process called the Ponseti method, a type of intense physiotherapy which starts to correct the problem and involved his feet being put in plaster. This lasted every week for about three months.
After that, Max’s feet had to be put in braces for 23-and-a-half-hours a day and then gradually down to 12 hours a day.
Incredibly, he stood up on his own at just nine months old. He started walking at 13 months and kicked a football for the first time aged three. Throughout his early years Max still needed the braces, eventually leaving them behind when he was four-and-a-half.
Since then he has never looked back and has not let it stop him from doing what he loves.
Nowadays, the Clowne Infants School pupil plays sport for 11 hours a week and is closing in on a black belt in martial arts.
To help other children and families, Claire made a diary of Max’s journey and they have a memory box in their home.
Claire also wanted to place on record her thanks to everyone at the Den and the hospital, who gave her son such care and attention.
“I do not want it to define him but I don’t want him to forget what happened either,” Claire said.
And it’s unlikely that will happen with Claire and dad Derek, 50, supporting him every step of the way.