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Brave Livvy grapples her way to jiu jitsu black belt

LIVVY Curran may have dyspraxia but she is a force to be reckoned with after becoming a junior jiu jitsu black belt.

Despite the movement and co-ordination difficulties that come with having dyspraxia, the 14-year-old Ramelton teenager is able to throw her opponents around the mats as well as any of her jiu jitsu classmates.

Livvy recently travelled to The Dojo in Ballymena where she impressed the judges with her grappling abilities.

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The Mulroy College student has been battling ill health most of her young life, having been diagnosed with dyspraxia and verbal dyspraxia at the age of five.

Also known as developmental co-ordination disorder, dyspraxia is a disability that affects movement and co-ordination. It is thought to be caused by a disruption in the way messages from the brain are transmitted to the body.

Given the challenges his daughter has faced in her first 14 years, dad Chris said he could not be prouder of her black belt achievement.

He said, “At a young age it was clear Livvy had difficulty with her speech and at around the age of five she was diagnosed with dyspraxia and verbal dyspraxia. This made very simple daily tasks that we all take for granted like tying laces, ties and riding a bike very difficult.”

Livvy attended speech and occupational therapy but it was at the age of eight that mum Debbie decided that a martial art might assist her. Livvy and her sister Ellie both enrolled at Milford Jiu Jitsu Club.

“Jiu jitsu was a massive positive in her development and she received great support and coaching at the club,” said Chris.

Livvy with proud dad Chris and sister Ellie.

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“She did so well and got all the way up to brown belt. But then she suffered another set back when in August 2018 she was diagnosed with a brain abscess caused by severe sinusitis which also caused a fistula in her skull.”

Livvy was admitted to Beaumont Hospital where she underwent an operation. Incredibly the brave teenager was back on the mats two months later working towards her next target. On Saturday last, along with 12 of her club mates, she achieved her goal when she successfully graded for the World Jiu Jitsu Federation junior black belt.

“It has been a long and difficult journey for Livvy,” said dad Chris.

“A black belt is a fantastic achievement for anyone but for someone with dyspraxia, it is a massive achievement. We could not be prouder of her and she could not have done it without the support of her club, in particular her two coaches, John Sweeney and Noel Kilpatrick.”

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