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Dublin: 8°C Wednesday 28 October 2020
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Fundraising night to take place for former League of Ireland footballer who tragically lost his leg

26-year-old Alex Lee played for Mervue United in the First Division.

Alex Lee played in the League of Ireland First Division for Mervue United.
Alex Lee played in the League of Ireland First Division for Mervue United.
Image: Steve Alfred

ALL PLAYERS ACCEPT that injuries are part of football.

A crunching tackle at the start of the game can set the tempo for the rest of the match, get your fans onside and just let your opponent know you’re around.

It’s built into players from a young age to ‘get stuck in’ early on.

But as the lawmakers try to gradually erode the physical nature and the art of tackling from the game, muscle injuries are now much more prevalent in the sport, rather than broken bones.

But they still happen.

And unfortunately for former Mervue United player Alex Lee, it’s the side of the game that he now knows all too well.

In March, the 26-year-old was playing for Mervue United in a Connacht Junior Cup match at Fahy’s Field when he suffered a broken leg.

But after spending the following six weeks in University Hospital Galway where he underwent several surgeries, he was told he had to get his leg amputated, just below his knee.

Since Lee, from Lurgan Park in Galway City, received the devastating news, he has shown remarkable courage to deal with the challenge head on.

Whatever tasks his physiotherapist asks him to complete, he does double. He is determined not to let this setback define him as a person.

Adapting to life as an amputee is not going to be easy though, but Lee’s already on the road to recovery.

A weekly visit to Cappagh Hospital in Dublin has seen him start working with a prosthetic that will eventually see him get his own carbon fibre prosthesis.

But the injury hasn’t seen him fall out of love with the game.

Having been part of the Mervue squad in the First Division under Johnny Glynn, Lee was on the sideline as a coach for the the U14 Kennedy Cup as his Galway side lost the final to the Dublin District Schoolboys League in June.

He had previously been earmarked by the Galway FA as a future coach and was due to start his UEFA B Licence in Easter, prior to his injury. The unfortunate accident is just going to delay Lee achieving his goals rather than stop him.

This summer he was invited by Connacht rugby coach Pat Lam to give the first-team and academy players a speech ahead of the new season.

“Lam asked him to speak to speak to the squad and he did so in such a positive way. He talked about his injury and settling into his new life. The players had nothing but the highest of respect for him for his positivity, it was inspirational,” said Damien Carrick, the player’s uncle.

Connacht Alex with the Connacht squad after he addressed the Pro12 champions.

Lee, who was once called up to the Ireland U-17 Development squad, is also a newly-qualified secondary school teacher in St Joseph’s College in Galway, known locally as ‘The Bish’. And he will return to teach Irish and Geography when the new school term starts in September.

Simple tasks have not been made impossible but that bit more difficult which has resulted in his friends organising ‘A Night for Alex’, which will take place in the Clayton Hotel tonight.

Tickets cost €10. All the money raised will go towards helping Alex adapt to life as an amputee with as a framed Real Madrid shirt signed by both Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo; a signed Republic of Ireland jersey; as well as flights and hotel breaks all up for auction.

For more information check out “A Night for Alex” Facebook page, or call (091) 771609, if you would like to donate a prize or volunteer to help with the fundraiser.

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Shane Costello

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