KEEPING IT REAL: Eliott’s Story

KEEPING IT REAL: Eliott's Story
Posted on Sat 16 May 2020

We're continuing to amplify the voices of the cerebral palsy community and today we're highlighting Eliott and CP Soccer.

Eliott proudly plays with CP Soccer, an organization that started in 2017 in upstate New York and New Jersey and currently has several teams throughout the United States. Its mission is to build a nationwide soccer league for kids who are affected by cerebral palsy, stroke, or traumatic brain injury, and to serve as a feeder for the Paralympics. In the process, they provide a way for kids with CP to meet and mentor each other, and for parents and caregivers to share their experiences.

We're thrilled that CP Soccer has a Move4CP team, and we know so many CP Soccer players are getting lots of movement in. Because of the lock down in New York City, CP Soccer is hosting hourlong Zoom training sessions from Monday through Friday, and the New York Red Bulls are hosting Zoom soccer trainings every Sunday. 

AN INTERVIEW WITH ELIOTT HU*

Tell us about yourself: What are your favorite things to do in addition to soccer? What subjects do you like the most in school?
I would describe myself as a typical 12-year-old boy. I do what a lot of other 12 year olds like to do,  tell jokes and argue with my parents. The adjective I would use to describe myself is affable. I’m pretty easygoing.

Besides soccer, I like playing video games. My favorite games are Fortnite and Brawlstars. I like them because they require decisionmaking and every game is different, and also because I can play with my friends from across the world. I like to follow sports and read biographies on sportspeople.

I really enjoy school, and my school is quite small. I love the learning environment that the teachers and kids create. My favourite subjects are history and debate. I find these subjects interesting because I like discussions.

What do you feel comfortable sharing about your CP? What do you wish people knew about CP?
I want to share as much as possible about my CP because I want to raise awareness about it.

I wish people understand that CP doesn’t limit what people want to do. People with CP can and want to do amazing things and just because they have CP doesn’t stop them from doing amazing things. If just enough is not good enough for you, it’s also not good enough for someone with CP.

I wish people knew more about what CP is instead of making assumptions and jumping to conclusions. For instance, sometimes people think that my bones are permanently broken, or that I had a hip replacement.

What do you love the most about CP Soccer?
I love that I can get together with other kids with CP and do one of my favorite things. I have loved playing and following soccer since I was five years old, so it’s extra special to be able to play with other CP kids who also love soccer.

How has your life changed since you started CP Soccer?
There are two things. One is that I have been able to meet and play with other kids with CP. Before CP Soccer, I’d only ever really known two other kids with CP who were like me. They were twin sisters.

The second is that I now have the chance to play matches and tournaments that are fair for kids like me. And the chance to get to the Paralympics might even be real. That’s life-changing because it’s given me goals to work toward.

Tell us about the summer camp you attended.
The sleepaway camp was truly amazing because we got to play CP soccer for five days and I got to meet Para soccer players who play for the national team.

Besides soccer, I also learned a lot about CP at the camp. I really enjoyed spending time with all the other CP kids and learned a lot from them. We got to see how we all deal with our challenges. It was fun and interesting to help each other and to see how creative we all are in finding workarounds.

What do you like the most about yourself?
The thing I like and hate about myself is that I love to laugh. Both my greatest strength and weakness is that I love to laugh. It’s very easy to make me laugh.

If you could spend the day doing anything you wanted with no rules or restrictions, what would you do?
I would play soccer all day.

*Eliott's story is part of KEEPING IT REAL — a series of personal stories that will take you deeper into the lives of people with CP. Each person makes different choices based on what works for them, and we’ll showcase that — highlighting what life is like for them on a daily basis, what they care about, and the ways CP impacts them. 

The KEEPING IT REAL blog is intended solely to raise awareness about the varied human experience with cerebral palsy and shouldn't be read or construed to contain any medical advice or medical endorsement by Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation. Only you and your doctor know what's best for you. Please consult your doctor for medical advice.

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