Inspiring Gabriel wins AITC honour at Players’ Awards
Gabriel Attard’s determination and passion for football was recognised when won the Albion in the Community award at the end-of-season Players’ Awards ceremony last week.
Gabriel has a rare form of phenylketonuria, a metabolic condition that affects his ability to move and speak.
He has played at Albion in the Community’s (AITC) inclusive football sessions for a number of years after initially struggling to fit in at mainstream football teams.
Alex, Gabriel’s dad, said: “When you hit the mainstream area, it’s very difficult for these kids to be accepted. AITC is like another family for him.”
Gabriel loves football with a passion and has enjoyed his journey at AITC, but he has had to overcome a major health scare along the way.
In 2021, Gabriel suffered from a minor stroke which saw him rushed to hospital.
“I couldn’t feel my leg and I was scared because I want to play football all my life,” Gabriel said.
His character is a jolly character, so that overcomes everything
It was a frightening moment for Gabriel and his family, but the young goalkeeper was determined to recover quickly and he has since carried on playing football at AITC sessions.
“His character is a jolly character, so that character overcomes everything,” dad Alex said.
For his determination in recovering and his unwavering positive attitude, Gabriel was given the Albion in the Community award at the annual Players’ Awards ceremony at the Amex Stadium.
Rich Reynolds presented Gabriel with the award, which was sponsored by Gap Solutions. 400 players, staff, supporters, and fans attended the event at the Amex on Monday 9 May.
Gabriel, a goalkeeper, is the youngest of four brothers; his brother Luke takes part in the same sessions as Gabriel every week.
AITC coach Phil Broom said of Gabriel: “Gabriel is a very cheeky lad, he’s the first one to do a little bit of banter or winding other players up.
“When he’s playing he’s really focused on keeping that ball out of the net. He really does honestly deserve to get this award.”
To find out more about AITC’s disability football programmes, visit: https://albioninthecommunity.org.uk/football-participation/disability-football/