Young hero who’s inspiring a new generation

05 December 2018 | Midlands

Charlie Fogarty

Promising young footballer’s life changed after car crash but went on to launch a disabled football team and now gives motivational speeches.

Meet the inspirational Midlander who defied all odds to rebuild his life and launch a successful disabled football team after a devastating car crash.

Charlie Fogarty, now 22, was a promising footballer who played for Birmingham City and MK Dons, and represented Northern Ireland at youth level, when his life changed forever. The 15-year-old was on his way to training in March 2012 when he was hit by a car as he was crossing the road.

His injuries were so severe doctors initially doubted whether he would survive. He spent 11 days in intensive care, four months in a type of coma and a further six months in rehab at a specialist brain injury centre.

“My parents were told I wouldn’t be able to do much again,” Charlie said. “It was the lowest point of my life, but I was determined to turn it into a positive.”

Now he is now inspiring a new generation of sporting youngsters, setting up a disabled footballer team. He said: “Football is my life. As soon as I came out of my coma, I wanted to get back on a football pitch and playing. Me and my dad set up a disability team at Solihull Moors. That was where I first began playing again and enjoying it. From there, I've set goals for myself.

"That's what I do. As soon as I've accomplished one goal, I move on to the next one.

"Me and my dad refused to recognise the words 'can't or won't.' So when doctors said I won't go on to do anything, it was nice to prove people wrong."

Despite the effects of his brain injury, Charlie has completed a sports science degree, and is now a motivational speaker.

He regularly stands up in front of packed halls and delivers “Anything is Possible” speeches to schools and young footballers at Premier League and Football League academies.

&His audience is often made up of under-18 players who are about to find out if their club is going to give them a professional contract, or release them, shattering their dreams of a football career.

He added: “I go in to tell them that, if they are released, they can go on to achieve great things."

It all started three years ago, when he gave a speech at his former school and it gained rave reviews.

Charlie, who was still undergoing physiotherapy at the time, started thinking about other children who loved football like him, but were unable to play for various reasons.

“I want people to realise that nothing is impossible, that no matter what challenges you face, you can do it,” he said.

Between October and December this year, he will deliver 60 speeches. “I want people to see how I’ve turned my life around,” he said. This year Charlie, a Manchester United fan, was awarded an MBE for services to young people in Solihull.

Charlie has also returned to football, playing for Northern Ireland at two Cerebral Palsy World Cups, and his next target is the Paralympics. “My dream is to represent Great Britain in the Paralympic Games playing football,” he said. “That would be amazing. But I just want to keep delivering the message that anything is possible. I’m proof of that.”

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