Hero who’s look­ing to in­spire kids

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO -

SOUTHEND UNITED’S Ben Coker is an in­spi­ra­tion to oth­ers – and now he’s been re­warded with the Sky Bet Foot­ball League Unsung Hero of the Month award for Fe­bru­ary.

Coker was di­ag­nosed with Type 1 di­a­betes at 15, but never let it stop him pur­su­ing his dream to be a pro foot­baller.

Eleven years on and the Shim­pers’ left-back is now an am­bas­sador for Di­a­betes UK. He vis­its schools and hospi­tals in Es­sex to re­as­sure chil­dren and par­ents that life can still be played out to the full.

Coker said: “Any­thing I can do to help the young kids is good. I hadn’t re­ally thought of do­ing any­thing be­fore, mainly be­cause as a foot­baller in the lower leagues you don’t think that any­one’s nec­es­sar­ily go­ing to take no­tice of you.

“But, now that Southend are go­ing up the leagues, I’m a lit­tle bit higher pro­file, so hope­fully I can get the mes­sage out ther e that you can live with di­a­betes and play at a high level. ”

Southend man­ager Phil Brown added: “When I see Ben deal­ing with his ail­ment and get­ting on with his life in the face of ad­ver­sity like he does, he is an in­spi­ra­tion.”

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