Will Bayley health: Strictly star once told he may never walk – what is his condition?

Will Bayley, 31, has been taking part in Strictly Come Dancing 2019, paired with professional dancer Janette Manrara. Still in the competition, the sportsman is surprised how far he’s got, having struggled with the condition as a child. He impressed Strictly judges with his Quickstep, with head judge Shirley Ballas asking: “What disability? What limitations? That was absolutely off the charts!” But there was once a time Will thought he’d never even be able to walk.

A lot of people said I wasn’t going to even be able to walk. So it’s really cool to be dancing on Strictly. It’s nuts

Will Bayley

He told RadioTimes.com: “A lot of people said I wasn’t going to even be able to walk. So it’s really cool to be dancing on Strictly. It’s nuts.

“I’ve had messages from so many people, and not just disabled people. A lot of messages are from parents of disabled children.

“A lot of people who struggle with my conditions don’t know if they’re going to walk or what the future is going to hold.

“I think it’s giving them a bit of help to know that you can overcome the condition if you’re determined enough, and you can really make something of yourself.”

So what is Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita?

Arthrogryposis is a condition whereby a child is born with joint contractures.

This means some of the joints don’t move much and may even be stuck in one position.

In Will, the condition affects all four of his limbs.

Seattles Children’s Hospital explains: “Often the muscles around these joints are thin, weak, stiff or missing.

“Extra tissue may have formed around the joints, holding them in place.”

The hospital continues: “Most conrtractures happen in the arms and the legs. They can also happen in the jaw and the spine.

“Arthrogryposis does not occur on its own. It is a feature of many other conditions, most often amyoplasia.

“Children with arthrogryposis may have other health problems, such as problems with their nervous system, muscles, heart, kidneys or other organs, or differences in how their limbs, skull or face formed.

“This condition is also called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita.

“‘Arthrogryposis’ means the joints are curved or crooked.

“‘Multiplex’ means it affects more than one joint. ‘Congenita’ means the condition is present at birth.”

Unfortunately Will’s condition isn’t the only issue relating to his health he’s faced.

At the age of seven he was diagnosed with cancer.

During his recovery he began playing table tennis after his grandmother brought him his first table.

Another star who’s overcome a condition that affects their movement and co-ordination is Emmerdale’s James Moore.

James has ataxic cerebral palsy – the same condition his character Ryan has. 

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