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My Everton #105: From Losing A Limb To Treble Chaser

I was 20 years old when I had a motorbike accident. I used to use it to commute to work and I was just involved in a road collision one day. It was a huge shock - not just for me but for my family as well. It was the worse time of my life.

The surgeons had a good go at trying to save my leg, but I knew they were considering amputation immediately, so I knew how badly damaged it was. They did everything possible. I had eight operations in total to try to save it but, by that point, I'd reached a point where even if they did save it, the mobility of it would be very low anyway. Once we realised that, we started looking into amputation more and decided as a family that it was going to be the best way forward.

My girlfriend was pregnant with my daughter at the time as well which made it extra difficult. I had a really good upbringing and I wanted to make sure I provided that for my daughter, too. I wanted to recover as quickly as I could - and she was due just four months later at this point. That was my target - to get mobile, to be up and walking on my prosthetic leg in time for when she was born.

There is a guy from St Helens, where I'm from, called Andy Reid, who stepped on a bomb while serving in Afghanistan and he lost both of his legs and his right arm. He came to visit me in the hospital at the time and had a chat with me. He was fantastic. In a really nice way, he got me thinking if he's fine with three limbs missing, I'll be fine with one missing.

We went ahead and, pretty quickly, I became accustomed to my new life.

Fast-forward a few years later, during lockdown, I was playing a bit of football in the back garden, doing keepy-ups and having a kickabout with my son, Liam Jr.

Lockdown was a crazy time for everyone. I had always loved football and being in lockdown, it made me realise that I wanted to get back into sport. I was looking at getting back into mainstream football, but then a player who plays for Everton called Jamie Oakey sent me a message on Tik Tok out of the blue, saying, 'I know you don't know who I am but why don't you come down and try amputee football with us?'

I didn't know about amputee football at the time because it's a very small sport in England.

I went down to a training session and fell in love with it, not just the sport but the team. Steve Johnson, who is Disability Manager at Everton in the Community, has been an amazing support for me. I feel like the whole Club has been so welcoming. I'll be honest, I supported Liverpool as a kid - but Everton have changed my life. The love I have for Everton now is enormous.

It's a great feeling to be part of the Club and we hope our team is a source of pride for Evertonians.

We've been invited on the pitch a couple of times - before the World Cup, because six of our players were involved, and after we won the FA Cup. What a feeling. You could feel how proud they were and that means a lot to us. Amputee football in England is charity-based and without the support of our friends, family and football fans as a wider community, we wouldn't be able to do what we're doing.

It's been a brilliant year with Everton and England. Last year was a disappointing one for us - we didn't win a single game - but we've come back this year with a new coach, Mark Dolan, who has been amazing, and a couple of new players, and we've been working really hard behind the scenes.

We've already won the FA Disability Cup and we've secured the league title, now we've got the League Cup final on 30 September to make it a treble. I think that shows the strength of the group and how hard we've worked at it.

With England, we went to Krakow in Poland back in June for the first-ever Amputee Football Nations League. We played against Poland, Turkey and Spain - and Poland and Turkey are fully professional, it's their job to play amputee football. We beat them and came away with the trophy which was fantastic.

Everton, as a club and through Everton in the Community, have opened doors for me that I didn't even know existed beforehand. I will be forever grateful for what they have done for me.

By Liam Burbridge, Everton Amputee and England Amputee footballer

Everton and hummel have launched a limited edition shirt to champion equality in football and to raise funds to support the Club and Everton in the Community's award-winning inclusion work.

The shirt, which is on sale now online at evertondirect.com and in store at Everton One and Everton Two from Friday 29 September, is a celebration of hummel’s 100-year commitment to raising awareness of social issues and inspiring change through sport.

To launch the equality shirt, players - including Liam - from across Everton's men's, women's, Under-21s and amputee football teams took part in a photoshoot, alongside supporters representing the diversity of the Blues' fanbase. Click here for more information.


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Everton and technical partner hummel are proud to collaborate to present My Everton, a weekly series of first-hand accounts describing the most-treasured memories of fans, players, and staff both past and present.

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