Leon Legge tells his incredible footballing story
If you missed Leon Legge’s feature article in the official Match Day Programme on Saturday, don’t worry you can read it right here on Cambridge-United.co.uk now.
The former Brentford and Gillingham man reveals the story behind his fight with epilepsy as a young teenager desperate to make it in professional football, and the work he now undertakes to raise awareness for the condition.
Check out the story below:
Legge’s journey in professional football began at a later stage than most, with the central defender not making his Football League debut until the ripe age of 24 for Brentford in 2009, a world apart from the likes of team mates Luke Berry and Josh Coulson who made their first team debuts at 17 and 18-years old respectively.
His early development took a major blow when he discovered that he suffered from epilepsy following an incident at the age of 16-years old. Legge explains his story in further detail and his determination to defy the odds and make it at a professional level.
“Epilepsy is something that I picked up when I was 16 years old. I had a motor bike accident and the neurologist said that it was mad to do that, as I did actually bump my head on the curb so at the time it was something that I didn’t really know too much of.
“Back then the information that was given about epilepsy was not as great as it is now. People are able to get information on the internet or libraries but back then there wasn’t too much, I literally went to hospital got a leaflet and went home.
“When I was told about it properly, my first thought was will I still be able to play football?
He continued: “Football was all I really cared about and at the time I wasn’t at a professional club but because I loved football that much I just pushed as hard as could to make it.
“From there epilepsy has just been something that I’ve had to deal with just through taking regular medication. It’s now been 14 years and I’m still taking medication but at the moment it’s just in its own routine and I’ve not let it affect my football.”
The 30-year old is now keen to raise awareness of the condition and is an ambassador for charity Young Epilepsy, which aims to bring better futures to young people that suffer from epilepsy.
Legge feels a duty to share his experiences with youngsters in order to help them progress on to their journey in life.
“The last sort of four or five years now I’ve been part of Young Epilepsy as an ambassador for their charity. I just want to pass on my knowledge and experience of it and the charity is a good way to do that.
“If people follow my twitter account, I regularly post information and even speak to families and parent who have asked how to deal with their child who is in the same positon as me. Whether a child wants to play football, basketball or any other sport, I can help give advice on that process because I have been through it.”