A nine-year old who couldn't walk properly because of a severe hip condition has just won a major European snowboarding competition.
Thomas 'Tomski' Robinson only took to the slopes a year ago in an attempt to improve his movement and strengthen his legs.
He has already triumphed at the European Westbeach Snowflex Freestyle finals in France, performing some amazing tricks to claim the under-16 title.
His mother, Lynda, nearly banned Thomas from entering the competition because he was still recovering from a broken arm. He had only had his cast taken off a week before the competition.Thomas, from Manchester, was born with excessive femoral anteversion, a rotation of the thigh bones that causes the feet to turn inwards, resulting in a 'pigeon-toed' gait. It's a condition that used to be treated with braces, casts and special shoes.
It usually resolves itself as the child grows, but Thomas continued to struggle with his walking. Activities such as riding a bike and playing football were almost impossible.
'As a child, he had real difficulty walking. He was always tripping and falling over. He used to get told off in school because teachers thought he was messing about,' said Lynda, speaking to the Daily Mail.
Thomas was faced with the prospect of major surgery to cut and untwist his femur. 'We looked at all the options including sending him to America for surgery, but we were just too scared as the risks of paralysis were so high,' said his mum.
'I don't believe in braces and callipers and things like that. They would have left him walking like a robot.'
After learning of the possible benefits of snowboarding, Lynda booked him on a course of lessons last year at the Chill Factore indoor snow dome near Manchester.
His ability to control his legs progressed rapidly, and Thomas quickly showed himself a natural on the slopes, scooping bronze and silver medas at the Mini-Brits dryslopes championships before going on to win the under-16s competition in France.
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