Lancashire football hero has 'slim' chance of recovery

BRAVE: Ex-Claret Gary Parkinson who is fighting for his life

BRAVE: Ex-Claret Gary Parkinson who is fighting for his life

First published in Sport Blackpool Citizen: Photograph of the Author by

DOCTORS believe that ex-Claret Gary Parkinson is suffering from a rare and potentially deadly condition following his massive stroke two weeks ago.

The 42-year-old’s family have been informed he is suffering from locked-in syndrome, where a patient is aware and awake but, due to almost complete paralysis of their muscles, cannot move or communicate apart from with their eyes.

Only a handful of people are known to have recovered from the syndrome.

But his wife Debbie has refused to give up the fight, according to Ian Holloway, manager of Blackpool FC where Gary is head of youth.

The news has emerged as two of his former clubs, Burnley and Bolton Wanderers, prepare to face each other in the Carling Cup third round at Turf Moor tonight.

Mr Holloway said: “Gary has had a terrible stroke and they (the doctors) haven’t given him much hope.

“I’ve had illnesses and bereavements before, but not like this, not where someone is actually trapped in a body that is relatively healthy and they can’t get the messages through.

The doctors can’t really do much more and there are only two people who have ever really got over a stroke this severe.

"But his wife Debbie is absolutely fantastic. I am amazed at the strength of the lady.

“She believes he is there and wants to try and get him out and get him back home.

She is saying ‘if two people have done it before, why can’t Gary?’”

Gary, who scored Burnley’s winning goal in the Division Two play-off final at Wembley in 1994, is being treated at Royal Bolton Hospital, after earlier being transferred from Salford Royal Hospital.

The Blackpool boss said everyone was supporting Debbie and the couple’s three children.

He said: “Gary is a very fit man. His body is still very fit. Unfortunately, his brain is not.

We have got to help his family as much as we can.

As long as there is hope, as long as someone has come back before, then hopefully Gary can.

But it’s a shock to everybody. He is only 42.

“I’ve tried to keep filling the players in on any news. I had a chat with them yesterday.”

Dr Tom Smith, Lancashire Telegraph health expert, said: “The problem is you can understand and see and hear what is going on, but you can’t communicate.

You’re unable to move, or speak, but you are conscious.

“It is horrifying to suffer from. It is truly a worst nightmare.

“There is no treatment that can be given, you just have to keep them alive by feeding them and looking after them and just hope some recovery starts.

"It is just a case of hoping.”

Alan Beecroft, of the Colne Clarets supporters’ group, said his thoughts, along with those of other fans, were with Gary’s family.

He said: “It is so sad for his family. Everybody is thinking of him and his wife, children and family.

"It must be horrendous for them to go through. It is devastating.

"Burnley fans have some great memories of Gary and it is awful to think of him this way.”

Jamie Hoyland, now a youth coach at Preston North End, played with Gary for three years. He went to see Gary last Tuesday.

He said: “You knew he could hear what I was saying and his eyes were reacting.

“You just try and get a bit of humour and get him stimulated.

“It is sad, but he is still fighting in there.

"Everybody I speak to from the game who knew him is always asking about him.

"It shows how well Gary is thought of.

“I’m just keeping my fingers crossed and praying for a miracle.”

Comments (14)

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8:32pm Tue 21 Sep 10

Ian_G says...

What a terrible condition to suffer from! A living nightmare for him and his family.

I really hope that he pulls through!
What a terrible condition to suffer from! A living nightmare for him and his family. I really hope that he pulls through! Ian_G
  • Score: 0

8:58pm Tue 21 Sep 10

Joey99 says...

"The 42-year-old’s family have been informed he is suffering from locked-in syndrome, where a patient is aware and awake but, due to almost complete paralysis of their muscles, cannot move or communicate apart from with their eyes."

What a terrible fate! :/
"The 42-year-old’s family have been informed he is suffering from locked-in syndrome, where a patient is aware and awake but, due to almost complete paralysis of their muscles, cannot move or communicate apart from with their eyes." What a terrible fate! :/ Joey99
  • Score: 0

9:46pm Tue 21 Sep 10

Lottie27 says...

Keep the Faith Debbie!! My thoughts and best wishes are with all of you.
Keep the Faith Debbie!! My thoughts and best wishes are with all of you. Lottie27
  • Score: 0

9:54pm Tue 21 Sep 10

elvis72uk says...

What a terrible condition to suffer made all the worse by being so young. I'm sure all Blackburn fans will join me in wishing Gary and his family all the best for the future.
What a terrible condition to suffer made all the worse by being so young. I'm sure all Blackburn fans will join me in wishing Gary and his family all the best for the future. elvis72uk
  • Score: 0

10:39pm Tue 21 Sep 10

A Game of Blue & White Halves says...

... In out prayers - along with all who are in trouble and strife.
... In out prayers - along with all who are in trouble and strife. A Game of Blue & White Halves
  • Score: 0

10:57pm Tue 21 Sep 10

burnleyglentoran says...

BBC radio 5 live interviewed a woman recently who DID recover from this condition. Sincerely hope Gary does the same.
BBC radio 5 live interviewed a woman recently who DID recover from this condition. Sincerely hope Gary does the same. burnleyglentoran
  • Score: 0

9:11am Wed 22 Sep 10

anniehargs says...

I agree with this brave man's wife. If 2 people have got through this before, he can too. Go girl, you are a true inspiration, don't give up honey xxxxx
I agree with this brave man's wife. If 2 people have got through this before, he can too. Go girl, you are a true inspiration, don't give up honey xxxxx anniehargs
  • Score: 0

11:34am Wed 22 Sep 10

George Scales says...

Hang in there, you never know in this life what is round the corner.

Best wishes to you from all fans of Manchester United FC.
Hang in there, you never know in this life what is round the corner. Best wishes to you from all fans of Manchester United FC. George Scales
  • Score: 0

2:42pm Wed 22 Sep 10

BurnleyAnt says...

Hang On In There Gary, What A Fantastic Player You Have Been For All Your Clubs, I Am Sure That As A Coach Of Youth Now, You Will Give Them That "Never Say Die" Approach To Football. To Your Wife & Family, Never Give Up On Him Because I Know He Will Beat This Too. All Burnley Fans Are With You In This Hour Of Need.
Hang On In There Gary, What A Fantastic Player You Have Been For All Your Clubs, I Am Sure That As A Coach Of Youth Now, You Will Give Them That "Never Say Die" Approach To Football. To Your Wife & Family, Never Give Up On Him Because I Know He Will Beat This Too. All Burnley Fans Are With You In This Hour Of Need. BurnleyAnt
  • Score: 0

3:50pm Wed 22 Sep 10

Markus Spartacus says...

I used to work for BFC back when Parky was a Claret, including the glorious day in 1994 when he scored the winning goal at Wembley to secure promotion. A very good and solid player for us and his other teams, but what I can say above anything else, Parky was a top bloke. No airs or graces, easy to talk to, good sense of huomour and I think just a naturally nice guy. Not many players will stand at the end of the bar wearing a pair of women's jam jar bottom specs after a game where he had missed a penalty. Parky did this and posed for a photograph with a fan. Like I said, one of the nicest blokes I had met whilst at the club and I cannot imagine what his wife and children must be going through.

My thoughts and prayers are with Debbie and his children and hoping that Parky can be one of the few people who recover from this awful condition. Keep fighting mate, you have an awful lot of Clarets firmly behind you.
I used to work for BFC back when Parky was a Claret, including the glorious day in 1994 when he scored the winning goal at Wembley to secure promotion. A very good and solid player for us and his other teams, but what I can say above anything else, Parky was a top bloke. No airs or graces, easy to talk to, good sense of huomour and I think just a naturally nice guy. Not many players will stand at the end of the bar wearing a pair of women's jam jar bottom specs after a game where he had missed a penalty. Parky did this and posed for a photograph with a fan. Like I said, one of the nicest blokes I had met whilst at the club and I cannot imagine what his wife and children must be going through. My thoughts and prayers are with Debbie and his children and hoping that Parky can be one of the few people who recover from this awful condition. Keep fighting mate, you have an awful lot of Clarets firmly behind you. Markus Spartacus
  • Score: 0

5:33pm Wed 22 Sep 10

Chris P Bacon says...

Keep fighting, Parky. We are all with you in this difficult time. We all want you to pull through this and show us that potentially devastating news need not be devastating at all. There's always hope and the full story hasn't been told yet. Make it have a happy ending, mate.
Keep fighting, Parky. We are all with you in this difficult time. We all want you to pull through this and show us that potentially devastating news need not be devastating at all. There's always hope and the full story hasn't been told yet. Make it have a happy ending, mate. Chris P Bacon
  • Score: 0

6:26pm Wed 22 Sep 10

RAyzer says...

THERES ONLY ONE GARY PARKINSON,ONE GARY PARKINSON!!!!LEGEND.
..
THERES ONLY ONE GARY PARKINSON,ONE GARY PARKINSON!!!!LEGEND. .. RAyzer
  • Score: 0

11:13pm Wed 22 Sep 10

dr matthews says...

get well son parky,top man love & best wishes to you & your family from all the fans of
burnley football club
get well son parky,top man love & best wishes to you & your family from all the fans of burnley football club dr matthews
  • Score: 0

12:21am Thu 23 Sep 10

Sean Paul says...

RAyzer wrote:
THERES ONLY ONE GARY PARKINSON,ONE GARY PARKINSON!!!!LEGEND. ..
True!!!
But RAyzer is a muppett who just likes stirring things up...a low life scumbag who threatens people when there is no chance of cathing him d**k h**d..
[quote][p][bold]RAyzer[/bold] wrote: THERES ONLY ONE GARY PARKINSON,ONE GARY PARKINSON!!!!LEGEND. ..[/p][/quote]True!!! But RAyzer is a muppett who just likes stirring things up...a low life scumbag who threatens people when there is no chance of cathing him d**k h**d.. Sean Paul
  • Score: 0

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