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Serious heart defect and joint agony won’t stop this seven-year-old ice hockey player

Little Olly Reynolds has a serious heart defect and his joints are so flexible it can leave him in agony - but that doesn’t stop him playing one of the world’s toughest sports every week.
Little Olly Reynolds has a serious heart defect and his joints are so flexible it can leave him in agony - but that doesn’t stop him playing one of the world’s toughest sports every week.

Little Olly Reynolds has a serious heart defect and his joints are so flexible it can leave him in agony – but that doesn’t stop him playing one of the world’s toughest sports every week.

The budding ice-hockey star has a rare chromosomal condition which causes a host of health and behavioural problems.

Without medication he would only sleep two hours a night, he has a hole in his heart, suffers from anxiety, and has joint hypermobility which leaves him in agony and struggling to walk.

But every time the seven-year-old, whose condition 22q11.2 deletion syndrome went undiagnosed until he was four, steps out on the ice he becomes a different child.

At the age of three, Olly even overcame his fear of speaking – saying his first words to a girl during a visit to Aberdeen ice rink.

The youngster now trains Mondays and Fridays with the city’s Mini Lynx team and, according to coach and dad Owen, 40, the rink is his “happy place”.

Olly also has an “encyclopedic knowledge” of the National Hockey League and is able to reel off the numbers and positions of each player and can tell who scored in major games.

“He lives and breathes it,” said his dad, a graphic designer from Aberdeen. “It’s an obsession.

“The ice rink is the place that really got him out of his shell.

“That is what proved that he could be normal. He was always a bit different from other kids, and, as parents, we thought he might have autism.

“But then when he was at the ice-rink he was going about with other kids, joining in games and, if it wasn’t for that passion for ice-hockey, I don’t know if he would have been the same at school or be the little character he is now.

“You can’t get him off the ice. He just loves it.”

After a two-hour training session, Olly’s joints and muscles ache so much he has to limp off the ice.

And by the time Saturday arrives, after five days at school and two nights of ice-hockey, he has to spend all day lying on the sofa, recovering.

His father and mum Eve, 40, have now raised hundreds of pounds for the Max Appeal, a charity which supports families of children like Olly and helps to fund vital research into his condition.

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