At the age of nine I was diagnosed with a disability called Perthes disease which made exercising more or less impossible. I spent weeks on end going in and out of hospital, being placed on traction and having to have a number of operations to lengthen the tendons in my groin. I had to have my hip pinned to try to increase the blood flow into my hip joint and this was followed by 6 weeks in broom stick pots. During this time I was wheel chair bound and then gradually progressed to using crutches and carrying out regular physiotherapy sessions to build up the muscles in my legs, as they were too weak to support my body weight. Perthes disease (also known as Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, or Calve Perthes disease, is a childhood disorder which affects the head of the femur (the ball of the ball and socket joint of the hip). In Perthes disease the blood supply to the growth plate of the bone at the end of the femur (called the epiphysis) becomes inadequate. As a result the bone softens and breaks down. The specialists told me that I would never be able to lead a fully active lifestyle due to the shorting of my leg and the weakness within my hip joint but I stayed positive and tried to be as active as possible throughout my teenage years. I played as much football as my hip could handle and at the age of eighteen I was finally discharged from the hospital.