Brennan Massey is an 11-year-old lad who attends Mangawhai Beach School along with a large number of other 11-year-old boys. What sets Brennan apart is he spends most of his time in a wheelchair suffering from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a muscle-wasting disease.
His entertainment in life revolved largely around Wii, iPod and Playstation until he recently discovered Powerchair Football (aka Power soccer).
“We learned about it through a friend on Facebook who thought it might be something that would interest Brennan so we joined the Auckland club and the rest is history,” says his Mum Vivienne.
We have all seen and admired our wheelchair rugby players and the no-holds-barred attitudes of these otherwise invalids, and while Brennan is not quite up to that league he has taken to this new sport like a duck to water. His involvement has meant so much more than just watching from the sideline being unaware that he could ever be involved in a team sport.
Brennan appears to have found his niche. After a couple of months learning the ropes then completing the New Zealand training camp he has now been selected to play in the NZ team against Australia in October – something that has surprised everyone, especially Brennan. The camp was also attended by coaches from the USA who labelled Brennan a ‘natural’ in his ability to read the game and in his ball control. Furthermore he will be the youngest member of the team.
Travel to Australia does bring a number of obstacles, however. To transport a team of wheelchair-bound athletes is an arduous and expensive exercise so Brennan and his family are appealing for donations to assist with the $6,000 necessary to cover the package which includes registration and fees, flights, transport, accommodation and incidentals.
The 2013 Australian Powerchair Football National Championships will be played at Kevin Betts Stadium, Sydney, named after a man who was a champion of sporting activities for the physically disabled. The Kiwis will compete as the ‘other’ Australian State.
Can you help to get a local lad to Kevin Betts Stadium to represent New Zealand and Mangawhai?
■ Donations can be made online at www.givealittle.co.nz/member/BrennanM