Boy who faced life in wheelchair to represent Scotland in karate

Harrison Loftus with the medals he has won since he started going to classes to strengthen his legs. Picture: John Jeffay

Harrison Loftus with the medals he has won since he started going to classes to strengthen his legs. Picture: John Jeffay

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A boy who faced life in a wheelchair is to represent Scotland in world karate competition.

When Harrison Loftus was born, his parents were told his hips were so badly dislocated he might never be able to walk.

But Harrison, now aged nine, overcame those early challenges and will now represent Scotland in a world karate competition.

His parents were warned he may have to spend his whole life in a wheelchair and he had to undergo major surgery as his condition was among the worst cases that doctors had ever seen.

Father Julez, 38, of Dundee, said: “When Harrison was born and we were given the devastating news, we could never have imagined he would end up being a karate champion.”

Mother Terri, 34, said tests when she was pregnant with Harrison failed to show the problem with his hip.

“Doctors told us his dislocated hips were very bad and among the worst dislocations they’d ever seen,” said Ms ­Loftus.

“They said unless he had major surgery he would never walk and would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.”

When Harrison was only 18 months old he underwent pioneering surgery at Ninewells Hospital when his thighs were cut open and his hips were corrected.

His mother said: “Harrison was used as a guinea pig because this procedure hadn’t been carried out at the hospital before. After two years of being in casts and recovering, gradually he got stronger and stronger.”

When Harrison was three, the couple took him to karate to help strengthen his legs — and he has never looked back.

He is now working towards his adult black belt and has a haul of medals he has won at competitions all over the country.

Despite his bravery, his parents said Harrison is a quiet boy who does not realise just how good he is.

His father, a former cage fighter, took up karate and accompanied Harrison to competitions.

He, too, will be representing Scotland at the World Union of Karate-Do Federations World karate championships in Dublin next month.

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