A young Dundee tennis star is back on the court against all the odds — after overcoming a potentially deadly spinal condition which was crushing her lungs.
Poppy Wakeman, 11, was left devastated when she was diagnosed with scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, and was forced to quit her favourite sport.
Her family first noticed that something was wrong when the youngster began complaining of back ache and struggled to keep up during her tennis lessons.
Concerned mum Louise made an emergency appointment with the family GP, who made the diagnosis, but was told that Poppy would face up to a six-month wait to see a specialist.
Scoliosis is a condition which causes the spine to excessively curve sideways. It affects about 4% of the population and if left untreated it can lead to fatal heart and lung problems.
An operation to treat the condition is a risky procedure, involving metal rods being inserted either side of the spine, before the spine is fused solid.
But aware that the condition needed urgent treatment, Louise searched for other options and found London-based clinic Scoliosis SOS which offers a form of non-surgical treatment.
Poppy was booked on a month-long treatment course and within weeks her condition dramatically improved.
She found she was no longer getting short of breath when exercising and her bubbly personality returned.
Poppy also met other young patients at the clinic, including a girl who had had her spine fused solid.
She learned a set of exercises which strengthened the muscles around her spine and helped to stabilise the condition. Since completing her course of treatment, Poppy has returned home and is now able to run around the tennis court for the first time in months.
She still hopes to one day become a professional player.
Poppy, who lives in West Ferry and attends Craigiebarns Primary School, said: “I am so excited to have found a way of managing my condition and I really am looking forward to a summer filled with tennis.
“I am actually able to enjoy watching Wimbledon this year rather than having to avoid it because I was so envious.
“Tennis is everything to me and it would have broken my heart to give it up.
“I just wanted to be a normal girl and not have to constantly worry about my back.”
Source: Evening Telegraph, 25th June 2015