He’s only 24 but he already has an MBE to his name and he loves playing for Northern Ireland’s Cerebral Palsy team.
And if you ever have the pleasure of meeting Charlie Fogarty you will not forget him in a hurry.
A talented teenager who aspired to be a professional footballer, Charlie was left in a coma for four months after being hit by a car overtaking a bus when he was crossing the road.
He suffered a severe brain injury from the accident, which happened in his home town of Solihull in the West Midlands, and that led him to spend six months in a children’s rehabilitation centre in Surrey.
Before the road accident in 2012 Charlie had finished a four-year stint at Birmingham City FC’s Academy and was trialling for Milton Keynes Dons, but his life was turned upside down by the accident. Charlie had to learn how to talk, walk, dress and perform basic tasks again.
He now tours football clubs, schools, universities and corporate events as an inspirational speaker. His speeches transcend age, professions, gender and background. He encourages each and every individual that giving up never has to be an option, no matter what.
Charlie plays for the Solihull Moors FC community team and, of course, he also plays for Northern Ireland’s CP team.
He qualifies to play for Northern Ireland through a grandfather from Limavady. And he was part of the Northern Ireland Schoolboys set-up before his accident.
To date he has won five international caps and played in two CP World Cups for his country.
Alongside his footballing achievements he has also continued his education. With one-to-one support he achieved a degree in Sports Science and graduated in late 2018.
Earlier that year the 24-year-old, who also aspires to be part of the GB Paralympic Football team, was awarded an MBE for services to young people in Solihull. He was presented with his medal by Prince William (Duke of Cambridge) at a Buckingham Palace ceremony.
Image: Charlie Fogarty (right) on the ball for Northern Ireland’s CP team against Spain.