Some times in sport, the result of a match is not that important when it comes to enjoying life.
For when the Sea Eagles players walked up the tunnel to their dressing room at Lottoland yesterday following their 30-26 loss to the Melbourne Storm, the scoreline didn’t matter in the eyes of one 15-year-old boy.
Sitting in a wheelchair proudly wearing his Manly jersey was Elijah, who couldn’t stop smiling as he met the Sea Eagles players one by one. With each photo taken, the smile just grew wider.
A Sea Eagles supporter all of his life, Elijah was involved in a horrific skydiving accident in November 2015.
He sustained multiple broken bones, internal injuries as well as a severe traumatic brain injury, and spent a year at Westmead Children's Hospital undergoing recovery and rehabilitation.
Today, his rehabilitation continues in Canberra. Elijah has had to relearn how to eat, talk, move all of his limbs, and is doing his best at re-learning how to walk.
When Golden Eagles chairman Mark Bryant heard the family were coming to watch the Sea Eagles play the Storm, the club decided to make the trip for Elijah extra special.
Upon arriving at Lottoland, the family were given priority seating for the match inside the players’ dugout where they were introduced to injured players Martin Taupau, Jarrad Kennedy, and Billy Bainbridge.
Sea Eagles legend Steve Menzies also popped in to meet the family and spend time with Elijah.
Mum Robyn said the family makes a trip to Manly’s home ground at least once a year from their home in Canberra.
“His favourite player is Daly Cherry-Evans, but his all-time favourite, is Steve Menzies,’’ Robyn said.
“Elijah was lucky enough to meet some of the players last year at Pirtek Stadium for his birthday, but meeting them on their home turf yesterday, was even more memorable.
“Thank you Manly for everything that you did for us today.”
The Sea Eagles wish Elijah all the very best on his road to recovery and are proud to have him as one of our great supporters.