Petr Cech, Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey paid a recent visit to an amputee football session at the Arsenal Hub – Home of Arsenal in the Community.
The Gunners trio watched the Arsenal London Amps train, helped with some drills and talked with the group. One participant explained how he had lost his leg in a warzone, and another through a football injury.
Arsenal in the Community hosts a weekly programme for the London Amps group, providing coaching support and a 4G surface for the players to come and practise.
Cech said of the visit: “It was great to meet the participants. No matter what the story behind each player, they all enjoy playing football and they have all found the perfect opportunity to do that here with the Arsenal in the Community team. I once broke my leg badly when I was young and I used to play football on crutches. It was really fun, but also really challenging, which is why I have so much admiration for the participants. I think this programme is a great idea.”
Broadcaster Alex Brooker, who plays for the Arsenal London Amps, added: “I started playing with the team a few weeks ago and it’s brilliant. To have the players come to the session is unreal. I cannot believe that I tried to score against Petr Cech!”
Arsenal in the Community Disability Officer Luke Howard said: “The amputee football sessions are a new strand to our disability engagement work and we have a fantastic group of individuals involved who are helping us to grow this in to a great project.”
The project is supported by Inclusive United, the Wembley National Stadium Trust and Interactive, who promote disability equality in sport across London.
It is one of a number of Arsenal in the Community programmes for people with disabilities. Regular football sessions are held for young people with Down’s Syndrome, and in schools across North London. Weekly football sessions also take place for young people and adults with a range of mental health diagnoses and learning disabilities too.