Code change delivers the goods

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A young sportsman has made a triumphant start to his football career – winning three awards after recovering from a concussion.

Todd Vermeir, of Bob’s Cove, now plays for the Queenstown AFC under-14s after suffering the injury in June last year while playing rugby for the Wakatipu High School U14 team.

The 14-year-old won the coaches’ award, the U14 most improved award, as well as the Pres-ident’s Cup, at his team’s recent awards ceremony.

“I grew up around football as my father is from Belgium, but I have never explored it further until recently,” Todd says.

“Of course, I miss rugby, I have been playing it most of my life and although I have stopped it doesn’t mean that I’m anti-rugby.

“Football’s my passion now though.”

Todd had to visit the concussion clinic at The Studio in Gorge Road Retail Centre before he started playing football. His father, Kris, says when Todd first visited the clinic he had very little balance and “was ready to throw up after a minute on the treadmill”.

“It made him realise that although outwardly he looked fine, his brain was actually pretty banged up.

“Patience, which was hard for Todd, and the natural healing process and regular sessions with the crew at The Studio helped him get back on his feet, so to speak.”

The rugby season was over by the time Todd fully recovered from his concussion.

Once he was able to start playing sport again, Todd went running and played cricket regularly.

He now plays as a defender for QAFC and was over the moon to have his achievements recognised.

“It feels great. I have really put a lot of effort into my football over the past seven or eight months and to see it pay off was great.

“My goals are to one day make a career out of football and I find if I work hard enough that it might come true.”