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10-year-old Callum on pathway for England

28th November 2023

Meningitis survivor Callum, who is severely deaf, has been selected to join the FA’s pathway for para football for England.

Callum football blog pic

"Callum is a great example of not letting hearing loss hold you back."

Sally and Rob, from Cheltenham, went through the traumatic experience of their 10-month-old son developing bacterial meningitis in 2014.

Baby Callum thankfully survived his ordeal but lost 70% of his hearing due to meningitis.

We last heard how Callum was getting on back in 2019 when he was thriving at mainstream school. Since then, Callum has taken his love of football and run with it.

Callum has now been selected to join The England Football Association's Emerging Para Talent Pathway.

A dream

The Para Talent Pathway is open to players with either cerebral palsy, visual or hearing impairments who have the skills and a dream to step up and play for their country.

The aim of the pathway is to give more players with these specific impairments the opportunity to play for England as part of the England Para teams.

Callum has had two trials this year in Bristol and Middlesex and has been accepted and invited to join the pathway which will extend until he is 16 years old.

Expert coaching

Callum will play with other deaf players throughout the year and receive expert coaching from England FA coaches who specialise in deaf communication, enabling the players to access everything they need to play at their best.

Callum is very excited to be gearing up to play at St George’s park, the home of England’s national football teams, next year.

Although the bright lights of the big stadium are exciting, Callum won’t give up playing for his beloved Lakeside under 11s Blues in Cheltenham.

Callum and his family have been supported by Meningitis Now since his illness with Family Days, counselling sessions for Sally and Rob, and support with hearing equipment.

Sally says, "We are immensely proud of Callum and know he will grasp this opportunity with both hands like with everything he does. Callum is proud of his deafness now and he is a great example of not letting hearing loss hold you back."