Fifteen year old Alex Young of Fleet, Hampshire has been a keen rugby player since the age of five, playing for Farnborough Rugby Club. However, for longer than that, he has also been a sufferer of peanut allergy (discovered when he was just 2 years old).
So, when the opportunity came along for Alex to take part in the immunotherapy programme at Addenbrookes, Cambridge under Dr Clarke, Alex and his family jumped at the opportunity.
Alex has been on the immunotherapy programme since last summer, building up his tolerance every day and upping the dosage every two weeks. He is now on the top dosage and will be on this for the next couple of years.
Careful management was required to juggle this alongside his rugby, as exercising, even lightly after eating his peanuts can bring on a reaction, as he found out on a couple of occasions. However, once this was allowed for, no reactions have occurred since.
Being on the immunotherapy programme has not stopped Alex climbing the rugby ladder this season. Already a member of the London Irish Bronze Academy, he was one of only 50 players in the academy’s region (Hampshire, Berkshire and Middlesex) to be selected to move up to the London Irish Silver Academy next season at U16s.
This season Alex was selected to play at all of the U15s London Irish match outings, including the prestigious Harrow School Inter Academy Tournament where each of the Premiership Academies in the South pit themselves against each other with their top 36 players. Alex was proud to be able score for London Irish on every single one of these match outings.
At the Harrow tournament, the England Rugby selectors were out in force, scouting for top quality players from their video laden gantries scanning the fields. A few days later, Alex received an email from England RFU stating that he had been selected to take part in a 2 day England Rugby development camp at Bisham Abbey, complete with overnight stay at the Crowne Plaza hotel. This is not to say that Alex has been selected to play for England at the initial U16s level next season but it certainly is an encouraging step in the right direction.
Good luck Alex, we wish you all the best !!!!
For any players out there wishing to know how Alex started his rugby career, you need look no further than Farnborough Rugby Club. Any local boys/girls of any age wishing to try rugby, please contact the club’s Community Liason Officer, Lee Young on 07971 395412 or [email protected]