‘We are here for you’ - JC rallying around ill Manning Cup player
Jamaica College (JC) Parent-Teachers Association president, Jacqueline Robotham, says that the school is giving its full support to youngster Raheem Thompson, a member of its ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup football team who suffered a stroke during the recent holiday season.
Thompson, 17 years old, was playing football with his friends in the Mountain View area, where he resides, when he had a stroke on Boxing Day. Since then, he has been recovering at the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre in Mona, St Andrew.
“The student body has been very supportive of him,” Robotham told The Sunday Gleaner. “His entire class, and teachers, have gone to visit him and brought ‘goodie bags’ for him – items that he needs, personal items – because he’s unable to walk. The school’s Old Boys have been helping with his medical care and donating medical and nutritional supplies.
Thompson is bound to a wheelchair, and his speech, which he lost, is returning, but he is unable to hold full conversations at the moment. But Robotham is optimistic about timely improvements to his condition.
“From when he went in three weeks ago, he has improved because he has got back some movement in his feet, but he’s still not yet walking as they (doctors) don’t want him to walk,” she said. “They’re awaiting a test he’ll be doing to determine the cause of the stroke and to see how best to continue treating him. Thompson was preparing to sit CSEC examinations this June, but this now looks unlikely as the stroke has affected his memory.
“As it is now, the side of the brain that is affected is what deals with all the memory,” Robotham said. “He can’t retain anything. If he’s to get better today, he couldn’t go back into the classroom setting. He’d have to be taught new things, but he’s a very upbeat young man. He’s trying hard to recover, and he’s cooperating with his doctors and physiotherapists, and we as a school body are continuing to give the family support because at this time, they really need a lot of support and help.”
JC coach Andrew Peart describes Thompson as a good, attacking midfielder, who he saw as possessing the potential to develop. Although he did not feature for JC in last season’s Manning Cup, Peart said that he expected him to improve for next season.
Ian Forbes, the team manager, saw Thompson as a fit footballer and said news of his stroke was a shock to everyone.
“He would run forever, almost like he couldn’t get tired,” he said. “He was a very, very, busy player, very energetic, so it really came as a shock.”Forbes describes Thompson’s teammates as being “very distressed” about the situation, but like Robotham said, they are providing all the support they can to him.
Thompson was a member of JC’s Under-16 Urban and All-Island championship winning team of 2017 before his call-up to the Manning Cup squad.