NRL star Chris Lawrence helps injured kid’s dream come true
September 1, 2017 11:41am
TIM WILLIAMS,The Daily Telegraph
IN the space of a five-minute phone call, Wests Tigers star Chris Lawrence has changed a young rugby league lover’s life forever with one selfless gesture.
Twelve-year-old Adam Wallace faced the prospect of never again playing the game he loved after suffering a horrific injury while playing in the Quakers Hill under 14 team’s first game of the season.
Even though doctors told him a dislocated hip was one of the worst injuries a footballer can suffer, he immediately made it his mission to return to the field.
After months of rehab work, he made steady progress and his mother, Jacqueline, said the look on Adam’s face was “priceless” when his physiotherapist confirmed he could return to action.
But the mental battle was tough — he struggled to play more than a couple of minutes without the colour draining from his face in fear of suffering another hip injury, relegating him to the bench week after week.
“You have never been there, you don’t know what it is like to dislocate your hip,” Adam’s words would echo in Jacqueline’s mind time and time again.
The under 14s qualified for the grand final in Windsor. Jacqueline made it her mission that Adam would be a part of the team’s big day.
Enter Chris Lawrence.
The Tigers veteran had been one of Adam’s main sources of inspiration during his bid to get back on the field.
Lawrence suffered a similar excruciating hip injury in the third round of 2011 and then went on to play again later that season.
Jacqueline reached out to Lawrence via Twitter in hope of a message of encouragement to her son.
Less than 12 hours later, the phone rang. On the end of the line was Lawrence, who asked if he could speak with Adam about his injury.
The injured 12-year-old and his hero chatted for five minutes.
“He was bit shy when he first got on the phone,” Lawrence said. “I just told him about how I felt when I came back and how nervous I was for my first game. There were times I was a bit scared that other things would happen.
“I tried to reassure him that the physios and doctors he’s been to wouldn’t let him play if they thought anything was wrong. Once he went out on the field again and started playing with his mates, he’d realise how much he loved it and he’d forget about his hip.”
Grand final day arrived, and Adam woke with a sense of confidence Jacqueline hadn’t seen since before the injury.
Adam wrote ‘Chris Lawrence’ on the strapping on his wrists to remind him of his special call.
“I was scared and anxious about it coming back out when I went on the field,” he said.
“Chris was encouraging me to get back out there and said it wasn’t a game I wanted to miss.”
Lawrence wasn’t wrong. Adam played six minutes in the first half and the final seven minutes of the grand final as Quakers Hill won the premiership with a 12-8 victory.
An elated Adam said whenever he felt nervous in the premiership decider he’d look at his wrist strapping and the fear subsided.
Jacqueline posted a heartfelt message to Lawrence on Facebook to thank him for his kind gesture: “The 5 minutes you spent on the phone to Adam has changed his life (and ours) forever.
“He will never have to look back and regret sitting on the bench in his Grand Final thanks to you. He will not spend the entire off season wondering whether he will be able to return to the football field because of you. Sometimes little things go a long way.
“Our family are forever grateful for that 5 minutes spent with Adam.”