Michael is bouncing back

JUST seven months ago, teenager Michael Holbrook feared his basketball career had come to a premature end.The 17-year-old was almost paralysed after breaking his neck in a freak fall during a match.

JUST seven months ago, teenager Michael Holbrook feared his basketball career had come to a premature end.

The 17-year-old was almost paralysed after breaking his neck in a freak fall during a match.

But now the former Kesgrave High School pupil is packing his bags after scooping a highly sought after place at England's top basketball academy.

Michael, who is one of the Ipswich Tomcats' star players, is one of only a dozen players to win a place this year at the Barking Abbey Basketball Academy in east London - the country's most elite training school.

On Tuesday, he will embark on a two year course, receiving tuition from some of the country's top coaches, while also studying for a BTEC Diploma in Sport.

After this, it is hoped the 6ft 9in player, of Bucklesham Road, Ipswich, will gain a scholarship abroad to continue his training in America or another part of the world.

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Many of the academy's students have gone on to represent England in the national team, which is Michael's long-held dream.

His proud mother Carol, 45, said: “Looking back to when he first had the accident and they said they didn't know if he would be able to walk again, it's every mother's worst nightmare.

“But six months down the line we're packing his suitcase to go to Barking.

“The senior coach at Barking emailed Michael when he was in hospital and said he would keep his place which was fantastic. It kept Michael's morale up really.”

The teenager broke his neck during a match for the Holbrook Eagles in the Ipswich and District Men's league when another player landed on him as he dived for the ball.

Michael hopes the results of a scan he was due to have today will enable him to play competitively again.

The teenager refused to allow his dream to be snatched away from him.

He said: “I wanted to make sure I got through it. It's what I wanted to do. By next year my coach says I should aim to get into the England team. I'm going to give it a go and do my best. My dream is to become a professional.”

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