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By KRISTEN ALEBAKIS
THE moment when Harry Stott ran onto the footy field for the first time, his parents Julie and Reg couldn’t help but shed a tear.
The 14-year-old has an inspiring story. A story that has led the youngster to playing in his first ever game of footy.
At the age of two, Harry was diagnosed with autism. He also had dietary issues and suffered from hypotonia, which means he has low muscle tone and reduced muscle strength.
As he grew up, he didn’t show a desire to be outside or be active in any way.
Harry never played sport during primary school and much to the dismay of his dad Reg, he didn’t have a passion for footy.
Reg said it had always been a battle to get him to go for a walk or ride the bike, however that all changed earlier this year.
“At the beginning of the year Harry said he wanted to play competitive footy, because his younger sister joined the Under-12’s,” he said.
Reg said it was great to see his son show some enthusiasm about wanting to get involved with footy, but says it did raise some concerns.
“Will his team-mates accept him? He won’t be at the same level as others, how will he feel about that? Will he hate the exercise and training?” he said.
Despite their questions, Reg and Julie contacted the Point Cook Football Club. A club who has since welcomed the Stott family with open arms.
Harry’s dream of playing in a real football match became a reality, back in Round 1, when he played in Point Cook’s first Under-15 game of the season.
“As new parents and realising you have a child with a disability all your dreams that you've envisioned are shattered,” Reg said.
“As a Dad the dream of kicking a footy with his son was no longer there.
“So standing at the footy oval seeing him run out with the team brought tears to our eyes. We never thought we'd see this day.”
Reg said it was great to see his son so happy.
“After the game Harry told us dreams that came true and that his highlights were wearing the Bulldogs guernsey, running onto the field as part of the footy team, sitting on the bench and watching him team mates play, being in the forward line and hi-fiving his team mates when they kick a goal, and singing the Bulldogs theme song,” he said.
Reg said he has been very impressed by Point Cook Football Club had says all their worries about Harry joining the team, quickly disappeared.
“The club, coach and boys have been so welcoming and supportive,” he said.
“At his first training session the coach and boys helped him through the drills and gave him heaps of encouragement.”
Harry has now played five games for Point Cook and is looking forward to continuing to improve his footy skills as well as developing friendships with his new team mates.
“We can't thank Point Cook enough for welcoming Harry into the team and the world of footy,” Reg and Julie said.