Parkinson during his playing days with Burnley. Steve Morton/EMPICS Sport

Stricken former footballer given scouting role by Boro

Former Middlesbrough player Gary Parkinson can not speak or move, but uses his eyes to identify potential transfer targets.

FORMER MIDDLESBROUGH FULL-BACK Gary Parkinson has become a scout for the club despite suffering a severe stroke in September 2010.

Parkinson was subsequently diagnosed with ‘locked-in syndrome,’ a condition that has left him conscious and with a full active mind, but completely paralysed save for the use of his eyes.

He has now devised a system where he ranks players by blinking and raising his eyes to his wife Deborah, who then passes on the information to team manager Tony Mowbray.

“Tony and his coaching staff, like Mark Proctor and Stephen Pears, have been fantastic for Gary,” Deborah told the Northern Echo.

“When Tony first came to see Gary, he could see Gary was still aware of everything that was going on around him, so he asked Gary if he wanted to do some scouting for him.

“A DVD comes down to us, with a sheet of paper. There is a description of the player, his name, his age, his position and the clubs he has played for. Gary still loves his football, knows all about youth football from his time as the youth coach at Blackpool, and you can see he picks up when he is doing it. I have done it with him and so has my son, Luke.”

There is hope that Parkinson’s condition will keep improving. He has been on day visits to his home in Bolton, while it is hoped that he may regain his speech after an operation to fix his vocal cords.

For more information, click on the Northern Echo website here >

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