They said Matt would never ride a bike, go roller-skating or play sport ...
DOCTORS may as well give up predicting what Matt Watson will be able to achieve in life, as the 10-year-old keeps proving them wrong.
They said he would never be able to ride a bike.
They claimed he would never be able to use roller-skates.
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And they predicted sport would be a no-go.
He recently won a competitive judo fight – reducing his dad and coach to tears.
Matt, of West Hallam, is among the one in every 1,000 children who are born with hemiplegia. It means his right side is weaker than his left, so he cannot properly use his right hand or right leg.
But classing him as disabled is farcical. As dad Steve puts it, when there is something Matt wants to achieve, he is like a "dog with a bone" until he has accomplished it.
Matt himself said: "Just because you have a disability, it doesn't stop you from achieving what others can do."
It is that positive attitude – and what he has accomplished as a result of it – that last night landed Matt a Young Achievers award.
Steve, 37, who works for Rolls-Royce in Derby, said it was an accolade his son fully deserved.
He said: "Once we found out, at an early age, that he had the condition, the doctors started to give us certain outcomes or scenarios of what his life will be.
"There were several meetings where we were told he would never be able to do things like ride a bike.
"But, after spending ages and ages just trying and falling off, he eventually managed it.
"He was that determined to be able to ride a bike, we got him help from a specialist trainer while on holiday in Felixstowe and it worked.
"Because his right hand is weak, we called in a charity called Remap to switch the gears to the left side of his bike."
Matt, who wears a lycra splint to support his right leg, was equally determined to conquer roller-skating.
His mum, Joanne, 38, said: "When he started, he really was like Bambi on ice.
"From a mum's point of view, you could have just wept that he couldn't even stand up.
"He kept falling over but kept wanting to try again.
"By the third time we went, he managed to start moving forward and, after a few more times, he could keep up with everyone else his age.
"Because his right leg is weak, he's had to come up with his own technique.
"He rolls his right leg and pushes with the left."
Matt's older brother, Adam, 13, said he was amazed by what his younger brother was able to achieve.
Adam said: "He's brilliant at playing on the PlayStation 3. Playing games requires using two hands on the controller but Matt can play using one hand.
"He uses his palm to move the stick and his fingers to press the other buttons."
Adam enjoys judo – a sport Matt has also now taken up.
Dad Steve, who coaches at Long Eaton Judo Club, where the boys train, said: "Matt took part in his first competition in the summer and he won one of his fights.
"One of the coaches had been teaching him a throw and was standing at the sidelines telling him to use that throw. Matt did it and flipped the guy over to win the fight.
"It was such an emotional moment. We were all standing there wiping tears away."
Steve said his son's achievement proved how difficult it was to predict the effects of hemiplegia.
He said: "It's very much a suck it and see condition."
Joanne added: "When we were told he had hemiplegia, it was difficult to know how to react because we didn't know to what extent it would affect his life.
"There are still things he can't do, such as cutting up his food or doing up his shirt buttons. But he's doing really well."
As for the future, Joanne said: "We'll have to wait and see. With things like driving, he will have to undergo an assessment.
"Simple things like shaking hands won't be too much of a problem. He already shakes hands with his judo opponents. He just brings out his left hand and people shake that."
Matt, a pupil at Scargill C of E Primary School, scooped a Young Achievers award after being nominated by his teacher, Sarah Hallsworth, for his "enthusiasm and positive attitude despite his condition".
She said: "He's always kind and caring to others and puts his all into everything, making him one of the most respected members of the class."