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Dave Wiseman – For The Love Of The Game

Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy - British Council
 This article was generously provided to ClubFootball by the British Council, which operates in China as the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy.


"There's something we need to tell you Dave," said the doctor, "Yes I know, you've taken my leg!" replied Dave Wiseman. That was three years ago but Dave's love for the game hasn't stopped him playing regularly and he is now on the edge of representing England.
Dave needed to have his right leg amputated following an innocent collision with one of his own defenders that left his leg badly broken. The bone had gone through his calf muscle and unfortunately led to the leg being infected with gas-gangrene. For three days the doctors tried in vain but could not save the leg. If it was not amputated then the gangrene would spread and Dave would have died.
"When can I start playing football, cricket and ride my motorbike again?" was Dave's first question to the doctor.
Despite having just lost a leg it was simply out of the question to never play football again. At just 22 years old at the time of the accident Dave was playing the sport he loves so much four or fives times a week.
"I would sometimes play twice on a Saturday and then again on Sunday mornings. Then I would play for my works team on a Sunday afternoon if they had a game. Then there would be all the impromptu kick abouts in the week."
Dave's love and commitment for the game soon overcame his disability. Within just two years of the accident Dave was playing again, after being recruited by Gary Martin of the Limbless Association.
The Limbless Association provides information, advice and support for people of all ages who are without one or more limbs. With their HQ in South West London, they also enjoy links with their local football team Wimbledon FC, and together they have formed the Wimbledon Disabled Football Club (WDFC). Though a Tottenham fan himself, since July 2001 Dave has been playing regularly for them.
"It was pretty tricky at first. Not just getting used to playing on crutches but the fact that I was really right footed and hardly ever used my left. But now I had to. Though it's amazing how quickly you can learn when you have to." Kicking with the other foot was quite a challenge, but there are some advantages to playing with just one leg.
"You can actually kick the ball harder. Because now when you strike the ball you can use your crutches to swing your whole body at it, rather than just your leg."
Dave's now enjoying his football as much as ever before, and his continuing zest for the game could pay massive rewards. Dave's commitment has seen him work his way to the fringes of the England Amputee football team. At time of writing he is currently waiting to find out if he will be selected for the Amputee World Football Championship, to be played in Russia in September.
"As an able-bodied footballer I have to say that I would had very little chance of playing professionally, let alone represent my country. So this might be a fantastic opportunity. But whatever happens, the main thing is that I still play the game I have always loved. And through the work of the Limbless Association and WDFC, help others to do the same."


Jon Wilkinson, August 2002


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