Photo: Ian Robinson
Former football star, Gary Parkinson, who can only communicate by moving his eyes has got a job as a talent scout.
Parkinson, now aged 43, was struck down by locked-in syndrome last year and cannot speak, so communicates by blinking.
But that hasn’t stopped him talent spotting for his old club Middlesbrough which sends him DVDs of players.
He devised a ratings system based on blinks with his wife Deborah, 43, who said:
“The manager Tony Mowbray has been fantastic. He could see Gary was aware of everything around him, so he asked him to do some scouting for him.”
If the former defender, who was with Boro from 1986 until 1993, really likes a player, he raises his eyelids to look up and this goes through a scale of one to four.
If he looks up when she says “one”, it means he is not impressed but a four says they’ve spotted a future star.
Mum-of-three Deborah added: “Gary still loves his football and you can see he picks up when he is doing it.”
Mowbray is a regular visitor to the Priory Highbank Centre, Bury, where Gary is being treated for locked-in syndrome which he got following a stroke in September last year.
Mowbray wrote in his Championship side’s programme on Saturday: “We were determined to give Gary a role so he could feel involved. Long after he ceases to be news, we’ll be there for him.”
The club raised £35,000 for Gary by playing a match and selling 4Parky bands.
Gary has improved and is able to take trips home. It is hoped surgery will allow him to speak again.
PARKY was a junior at Everton before signing for Middlesbrough in 1986.
Was in the Boro squad in the first Premier League season of 1992/3. He made a total of 265 appearances for the club, scoring eight league goals.
Played for Bolton, Burnley, Preston and Blackpool, where he was a youth coach.