Pascal Struijk pays special visit to cerebral palsy session

Defender helps mark CP Awareness Month.

Pascal CP visit banner 1.jpg

The Leeds United Foundation recently marked Cerebral Palsy (CP) Awareness Month with a special visit from Leeds United star Pascal Struijk, who spent time with some local youngsters at their weekly disability football session.

CP Awareness month is celebrated every year throughout March, and it is dedicated to the 17 million people around the world who have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The annual event is a special opportunity to raise awareness about cerebral palsy, and specifically the barriers people with cerebral palsy are facing and the incredible things they are achieving despite those barriers.

During the visit last week at the John Smeaton Leisure Centre in Leeds, Pascal met with young children diagnosed with cerebral palsy to take part in their training session with the club’s official charity. The centre-back was on hand to get involved in the training drills, as well as a competitive match and towards the end of the session spent time answering some questions from the youngsters.

Speaking to LUTV during the visit, Pascal Struijk said: “It’s always great coming out to meet some Leeds fans but especially getting the chance to play with some young kids. I always enjoy the moments when I am coming out to do anything in the community, so it’s been great today and I think we’ve all had a good time together.

“Football is for everyone. If you just look all over the world, everyone likes to play or watch football and to see people with disabilities playing it just shows that there is no stopping when it comes to playing football, and it is really good for everyone to just go out there and have fun as that is what’s most important.”

Cerebral palsy affects many people throughout the UK and is more common than many will realise, with an estimated 30,000 children currently diagnosed in the country.

Through the Covid-19 pandemic opportunities for people to remain active with cerebral palsy became limited and so sessions such as those delivered by the Leeds United Foundation are incredibly important. Being physically active is life enhancing for those with a disability, it can specifically provide mental, social, and physical benefits, which can include increased confidence, motivation, and friendships.

The Leeds United Foundation have been working with youngsters suffering with cerebral palsy for around four years, delivering weekly football sessions to make sure that they have the same rights, access, and opportunities as anyone else in the local community to play the game we all love. Some of the benefits they have spoken about include a positive impact on balance, grip, and movement.

If you would like to find out more information around the work being done for those with disabilities at the Leeds United Foundation, please contact [email protected].

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