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Former Liverpool Trainee to appear for Great Britain Paralympic Team

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Sean Highdale, formerly of the Liverpool Academy, is set to appear in Rio on behalf of Great Britain's Paralympic team.

Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images

On April 3, 2008, the then 17 year old Melwood trainee - a passenger in someone else's auto - was struck by another motorist; two of his friends were killed and he was critically injured. Liverpool, keeping true to their motto, kept a space open for him at the club, and when he exited the hospital after his three month stay, the Reds placed him back on the club's U-18 roster for the 2009/10 season.

Unfortunately for the player, his injuries were severe enough to limit his professional ambitions, and despite Liverpool "help[ing] [him] as much as possible in trying to get [his] career back on track," he drifted down the ranks: to Oldham, Newtown, and then Vauxhall.

Though the youngster received a palliative payout in 2013 from the at-fault motorist's insurance (and perhaps the driver's insurance and his own, as well) that at least made up for some of the potential wages lost as a result of the crash, having the dream of first team, top-flight football wrenched so cruelly from his grasp was "heart-breaking" in the player's own words.

Having been a member of Liverpool's academy for seven years prior to the collision and achieving his first international call-up at age 15, one can understand why the young man may have packed it in and turned to less productive methods of coping. However, in an inspiration to many with their own rows to hoe, he has persevered and is set for quite the adventure.

He will play for GBR's 7-a-side team, and as someone lucky enough to have attended many Paralympic Games events in Atlanta after the '96 Olympics, this author highly encourages all Reds to (a) attend if they are in Brasil during these Paralympics; or (b) watch if available. It is worth noting two other Liverpudlians will be playing: a former Everton trainee, Michael Barker, and Wirral-born Ollie Nugent (yes yes, Wirral, I know).

The Olympics proper may sully its own motto in its current iteration, but if there is any international competition worth watching for pure inspiration, the Paralympics are it.

YNWA, Sean.