Footballers turn out to make Jack smile as his recovery goes on

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WE ALL have hopes for the new year.

And for Jack Farrugia’s family, the hope is that the 19-year-old will make some big steps in his recovery.

The football-mad teenager was left brain-damaged and unable to walk after a car crash in November 2008.

Since then he has shown some signs of progress, such as communicating by nodding his head and moving his eyes.

But dad Laurence Farrugia says the family are hopeful this year he may improve even further and possibly return home.

The 47-year-old said: ‘We’re really trying to be optimistic about this year.

‘We know any progress he’ll make now will be quite slow, but you’ve got to be positive.

‘At the moment he’s communicating with yes and no, by nodding and shaking his head.

‘We’re going to concentrate on getting him a proper communication aid now.

‘We’re also concentrating on him standing up and trying to walk a little bit.

‘We’re still a long way off, but at the same time, he’s come a long way already.

‘His health has been quite good of late, he’s doing ok. He’s not had a seizure for a few months now, which is great.

‘We’re also looking optimistically at getting him home this year.

‘We’re looking for a place in Portsmouth, where he’s always lived.’

As part of Jack’s recovery, the youngster returned to the West Leigh Park, the football ground he used to play at when he was captain of Havant and Waterlooville FC Academy.

Surrounded by friends and family, the teenager, who had hoped to one day play for Pompey, watched a charity game take place in his honour.

Ex-Pompey pros including Alan Knight and Shaun Gale and former Havant and Waterlooville FC players played a charity game to raise money for Jack’s fund – a fund set up which helps pay for the youngster’s friends to visit him at the rehabilitation centre he is at in Salisbury.

Dad Laurence, of High Grove Road, Portsmouth, said: ‘It was a really nice thing of them to do and it was a great day out. Jack loved it.

‘You could tell he really enjoyed being there.

‘It’s the first time he’s been to the ground since the accident, so it was a big thing.’