Going to pains to meet a hero
March 14, 2008 12:00am
WHEN sports-mad Tim Welsh needed a lift while battling crippling pain, doctors turned to the teen’s sporting hero.
Royal Children’s Hospital staff lined up a surprise visit from Tim’s football hero, Essendon’s Jason Winderlich.
Tim’s face lit up when his favourite player — who has overcome several football injuries, including recent back trouble — visited him in the hospital’s cafe garden while he was eating lunch.
“It was probably the best day of my life,” said the mad Bombers fan, who is a descendant of Essendon’s first captain, George Stuckey, and is named after Essendon legend Tim Watson.
Winderlich inspired Tim, 12, with his tips on how to handle pain.
But his condition was far from his mind when the Bomber midfielder gave him the match jumper he wore for his 17 games last year, after signing it.
“It put a big smile on his face,” said Winderlich, 23. “It was worth going in just to see the look on his face.
“He’s a terrific kid, and I just hope everything goes well for him with his rehab.”
For months Tim has battled a condition called complex regional pain syndrome.
By the time the year 7 student from Warrnambool reached the RCH earlier this month, he could not walk without crutches because of pain.
Vertical strips below each of Tim’s kneecaps, about 10cm long and 5cm wide, are so sensitive that the slightest touch causes him agony.
He has to lean against the wall while showering to prevent water touching the painful areas, and has to sleep on his side, without bed coverings touching the two areas.
Tim endures 15-minute physiotherapy sessions every waking hour while at hospital, as well as twice-daily sessions with a physiotherapist.
But he is fast improving, walking 70m without crutches within a week of starting the intensive physiotherapy regimen.
Pediatric rheumatologist Dr Roger Allen initiated the visit when Tim continued to wear a No 8 (Winderlich’s number) Bombers jumper to physio sessions.
“Tim hasn’t told me, but I think he was getting a bit of strength from it (wearing the jumper) said Tim’s mum, Gaye Welsh.
Tim has been plagued with pain since last year, soon after he was elected a sports house captain.
“He’s absolutely sports-besotted, really sporty,” Mrs Welsh said.
“He would have last year represented the school in pretty much every sport the school is involved in — things like cricket, soccer, football,” she added.
Tim hopes to soon resume playing sport and should overcome the condition in time.
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