Parkinson still plays part for Boro

PA Sport
Gary Parkinson (centre)
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Gary Parkinson (centre)

Former Middlesbrough defender Gary Parkinson is acting in a scouting role for the club, despite suffering from debilitating illness locked-in syndrome.

The 43-year-old, who represented Boro between 1986-1993, was working as head of youth with npower Championship club Blackpool until he suffered a severe stroke in September 2010, leaving him totally paralysed.

But with his mind still fully active, he is now helping Boro boss Tony Mowbray scout potential new signings by watching DVDs and then rating them by blinking to his wife Deborah - the only way he can communicate.

"Tony and his coaching staff, like Mark Proctor and Stephen Pears, have been fantastic for Gary," Deborah told the Northern Echo.

"When Tony first came to see Gary, he could see Gary was still aware of everything that was going on around him, so he asked Gary if he wanted to do some scouting for him.

"A DVD comes down to us, with a sheet of paper. There is a description of the player, his name, his age, his position and the clubs he has played for.

"Gary still loves his football, knows all about youth football from his time as the youth team coach at Blackpool, and you can see he picks up when he is doing it.

"I have done it with him and so has my son, Luke."

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