Blades defender Jake Wright surprises poorly youngster during therapy session

Jake Wright in the pool with Daniel (pic: Sheffield Children's Hospital)
Jake Wright in the pool with Daniel (pic: Sheffield Children's Hospital)
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Sheffield United star Jake Wright surprised a super-fan in the pool where the poorly youngster was receiving therapy for his chronic joint pain.

Daniel George-Hebert, who has been undergoing hydrotherapy at Ryegate Children's Centre, courtesy of Sheffield Children's Hospital, was thrilled to meet the Blades defender.

Jake presents Daniel with a signed Blades flag (pic: Sheffield Children's Hospital)

Jake presents Daniel with a signed Blades flag (pic: Sheffield Children's Hospital)

The 11-year-old, from Norfolk Park, has been working with the physio team at the centre in Crosspool to help build his flexibility, increase fitness and ease the terrible pain which his mum Kerry says often leaves him in tears.

The special visit helped take his mind off his troubles as he splashed about with number 13 and challenged him to a series of races.

Kerry explained that Daniel also has autism and finds it hard to interact with people, especially those he does not know, but she said he quickly warmed to the footballer.

"At first Daniel was hiding near the doors but Jake came and spoke to him and by the end of the session they were interacting really well," said Kerry, who has three other children, aged between six and 19.

The surprise visit was a reward for Daniel's hard work in the hydrotherapy sessions (pic: Sheffield Children's Hospital)

The surprise visit was a reward for Daniel's hard work in the hydrotherapy sessions (pic: Sheffield Children's Hospital)

"Jake really won him over and when they were outside Daniel gave him a high-five, which is something not even I get very much.

"That meant Daniel had accepted Jake into his personal space, which is a really big deal. Jake has a friend for life now."

Daniel has suffered from severe pain in his joints for around two years now, which Kerry said medics believe may be down to arthritis.

She said the exercises in the pool, which he has been doing for eight weeks, had really helped.

Daniel is a massive Sheffield United fan (pic: Sheffield Children's Hospital)

Daniel is a massive Sheffield United fan (pic: Sheffield Children's Hospital)

The children's hospital teamed up with Sheffield United to organise the surprise visit as a reward for Daniel's hard work in the weekly sessions.

Once they were out of the water, Jake presented Daniel with his training top and a flag signed by the squad.

Daniel has always been a big Blades fan but has never been able to watch a game at the ground, as he does not cope well with noise and crowds.

However, his mum said since meeting Jake he had been begging her to take him to a game, and she was now looking to buy ear defenders so she could grant his wish.

Daniel said: "I really, really enjoyed meeting Jake and I would love to see him again."