A TALENTED teenager who underwent heart surgery during the season has received a special sports achievement award.
Reece Booth, who plays for Ridgeons League club Hadleigh United’s Under-18 and reserve sides, was born with the medical condition known as complete heart block, which causes his heartbeat to drop when he is asleep.
He had a pacemaker fitted at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London last November, and was back playing again just weeks later, missing only one match in the Ridgeons Youth League.
The St Albans High School pupil said he was only five when he found out that he suffered from the condition, and has been visiting the same doctor ever since but had not undergone surgery before.
Right back Reece, 18, received his award from former Ipswich Town and Scotland striker Alan Brazil at the club’s end-of-season presentation night at Hintlesham Hall Golf Club on Saturday.
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“I had no idea I was going to receive the award, so it was a nice surprise. I am very pleased because it was my first season at the club,” said Reece, who lives in Allington Close, Ipswich.
“Because of the bad weather towards the end of last year I only missed one youth team game and a couple of reserve team matches,” he added.
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Reece made ten starts for the reserves plus two substitute appearances and played a total of 23 matches for the youth team either side of his operation.
Hadleigh United secretary Chris Rose said: “Reece always has a smile on his face and he and his family have fitted into the club really well. It came as a surprise to us when we found out he was going to have the operation, but only a couple of days later he was back at the club watching a reserve team match.
“Reece has battled back to play regularly following the operation and the club felt he deserved this special award.”
Mick Payne, manager of Hadleigh’s Under-18 side, said: “Reece is a very likeable young man and a hard-working player who gives his all for the team.
“He has been an asset to the squad throughout the year and he has shown great character and commitment to the club to come back after the operation and play as well as he did for the rest of the season.”