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Special Recognition - Charlie Fogarty

Talented footballer who suffered a life-changing brain injury has rebuilt his life to set up a disabled football team and become an inspiring motivational speaker.

At 15, Charlie was set for a career in professional football. He spent four years in the Birmingham City Academy before joining MK Dons, and had represented Northern Ireland as a schoolboy.

But his life changed in an instant when he was hit by a car in 2012 and suffered devastating head injuries. Doctors told his parents he was lucky to be alive and he spent four months in a coma, followed by six months learning to walk and talk again.

Despite his injury, Charlie returned to school and is now studying for a sports science degree. The 22-year-old also set up and became the player-manager of the disability team at Solihull Moors Football Club, and played for Northern Ireland at the Cerebral Palsy World Cup.

He said: “As soon as I came out of my coma, I wanted to get back on a football pitch and playing. From there, I’ve set goals for myself. As soon as I’ve accomplished one goal, I move on to the next one. Doctors said I wouldn’t go on to do anything - it was nice to prove people wrong.”

Charlie - who is still having rehab - has used his experiences to deliver motivational talks to everyone from hospital staff to aspiring young footballers. “I want people to realise that nothing is impossible, that no matter what challenges you face, you can do it,” he said.

“I want people to see how I’ve turned my life around.”

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The Mirror's Pride of Britain Awards in partnership with TSB celebrate the achievements of truly remarkable people who make our world a better place.

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