Doctor hailed for saving aspiring footballer’s life after rare cancer diagnosis

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The mother of a promising young footballer has hailed doctors at a Scottish hospital for saving his life following a rare bone cancer diagnosis.

Connor Elliot, 15, was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma in November 2022 and required an above-the-knee amputation surgery in his right leg to prevent the cancer spreading.

But the ambitious Queen Margaret Academy, Ayr, pupil found the decision difficult due to his dreams to play for the Scotland national team.

Connor Elliot is a member of the Amputee Football Association Scotland (Connor and Pauline Elliot/PA)

Connor’s mother Pauline explained: “Mr Duncan was amazing, he explained everything to Connor and that if he chose the option of re-constructing his leg then he would never be able to play sports again and also mentioned the option of taking up amputee football.

“Connor loves his sport and wanted to keep playing football, so after the conversation decides on taking the amputation option which meant he could take up amputee football.”

Now Connor is “thriving”, having returned to the football pitch just four weeks after his operation.

And his talent for the sport has gained him recognition from English Premier League teams, with Everton inviting the 15-year-old for a training session.

He now hopes to represent his country in amputee football, with a training camp planned in Poland this summer.

Connor was invited to train at Everton after he took up amputee football following his cancer treatment (Connor and Pauline Elliot/PA)

She described all of the staff at the children’s hospital as “caring and compassionate”, but added “Mr Duncan has a heart of gold, I cannot speak highly enough of him. He is retiring at the end of the month, which we are gutted about, but we would like to thank him for everything he has done.”

Connor has also returned to school, spending time with his friends and watching his beloved Ayr United at the weekends.

Manager Lee Bullen and the Ayrshire football club’s managing director Graeme Mathie visited Connor after his surgery.

Jamie Redfern, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s director for women’s and children’s services, said: “What an amazing young man Connor is, he is an inspiration and the team at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow would like to congratulate him for everything he has achieved so far through his amputee football.

“We’re all cheering him on and can’t wait to see what he does next in the sport.

“Our dedicated staff at the Royal Hospital for Children work tirelessly to provide the highest standard of care to our patients and their families and this is yet another excellent example of this.”

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