Robbie Trevett, a 13 year-old Scottish footballer, was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in July 2013. Robbie is one of around 115,000 people in the UK with the cruel condition, however, with the help of his family, friends and football club, Robbie is sure he can continue to battle Crohn’s successfully.
Crohn’s Disease is a condition which can be found in people as young as two years-old but is most commonly found in teenagers and young adults. The disease affects the bowels and digestive system, with the immune system attacking itself, producing antibodies. The symptoms of Crohn’s vary widely, including abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite which leads to weight loss (Robbie suffered largely from this dropping to around 4 stone) and joint pains, the symptom which ultimately lead to Robbie’s appointment where he was diagnosed with Crohn’s.
Robbie's mother, Suzanne Trevett said, "In January, 2013, Robbie started getting unexplained ankle and leg joint pain and swelling and we had numerous trips to Minor Injuries Dept at Victoria Infirmary, it was put down at the time to football injuries, so was playing football off and on at this time.
"In March of this year he was eating very little and was losing a lot of weight. He had went very quiet and subdued and no longer wanted to go out with friends or play football, as football is his life and has been since four years old. I thought this was very strange.
"I kept taking Robbie to the GP who kept giving him antibiotics for infections, but he continued to gradually get worse not eating at all and at 11 years old he had dropped down to four stone, he still had swollen joints, mouth ulcers, sleeping constantly, constant trips to the bathroom and chronic pain in his stomach. I finally got referred to hospital and Robbie was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease on the 12th July, 2013."
Despite awareness of the disease constantly increasing, there still remains to be no cure for the disease, making it a life-long condition. Although treatment is available, which can lead to periods of rest from the disease, the search continues for a cure. One method of treatment, which is available to sufferers of Crohn’s and will hopefully aid Robbie, is the removal of badly affected parts of the intestines and then the re-joining of the bowel. This will give Robbie his appetite and energy back, as well as putting his Crohn’s into remission for at least a couple of years, on the way into his bid to be back playing football.
"Robbie’s surgery is happening on Wednesday 11th November" said Suzanne. "He will be a week to ten days in hospital and thereafter eight weeks recovery at home. It is hoped he will be back playing football around February/March."
One of the 115,000 sufferers of Crohn’s in the UK is ex-Manchester United midfielder and Scotland captain Darren Fletcher. For years, Darren was ashamed of his condition and kept it as quiet as possible, the only person in football who knew was previous manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Even his manager at the time David Moyes hadn’t been informed that the reason for constant missed training sessions and rushed trips to the bathroom was in Crohn’s. The only reason Fletcher revealed the truth and spoke of his suffering at the hands of Crohn’s was the guilt he felt in lying to colleagues, and even friends his reason for absences.
After a long time of keeping the condition secret, Fletcher decided to speak of his suffering in a press conference at Manchester United’s Carrington training ground, letting the world know about the condition which looked to have ended his career.
"Darren Fletcher is a big inspiration to Robbie and it has given him the determination to not give up on his football" said Suzanne. "Having a condition like this, Darren has proved it is achievable. Robbie, since getting ill, has not let Crohn’s Disease get the better of him for all he has been through and still to go through. Myself, the family and his coach George, are very proud of him. He has a great support from everyone.
"He has fought and will keep fighting Crohns and his attitude towards this disease is amazing even although he has been ill and not had a break from it for almost three years.
Despite such a mentally and physically draining medical condition, it is still very much a realistic goal to get back playing football, especially considering Fletcher played at a level as high as the Champions League just months after finishing his treatment and recovery from the disease.
Robbie Trevett can be an inspirational to all young footballers out there, not just those who suffer from Crohn’s, or even any disease, but everyone, everytime they suffer a setback can look up to Robbie Trevett and take strength from his battle.