A Team GB wheelchair basketball player is considering having one of his legs amputated so he is eligible to compete in the 2021 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
Top player George Bates has Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) meaning for 15 years he has not been able to walk without assistance.
The poorly-understood condition has left him in agony with restricted movement and power and muscle wastage.
In 2018, Bates was on the first British men’s wheelchair basketball team to win the World Championships and scored 17 points in just 17 minutes in the final against the US.
Team GB wheelchair basketball player George Bates (left) is considering having one of his legs amputated so he meets the criteria needed to compete in the 2021 Paralympic Games in Tokyo
But – following the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) push to re-examine certain athlete’s disabilities against a limited athlete classification code – Bates was told he is not able to compete in the Paralympics.
Top player Bates has Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) meaning for 15 years he has not been able to walk without assistance
Pain-based conditions – such as Bates’ – are not considered eligible by the IPC.
Bates, from Leicester, uses a crutch to walk and is registered as disabled in the UK, The Daily Telegraph reports.
When he was 14, doctors said he could have his leg removed entirely – but Bates decided against it.
He is now considering it as being an amputee would make him eligible to compete.
He said: ‘I have given my whole life to the sport since I was 17. The only thing I have ever wanted to win is a Paralympic medal.’
The leg would have to be removed above his knee as a prosthetic lower down would cause too much pain, Bates said.
Although sympathetic with Bates, the IPC said the code ‘clearly states that Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is a health condition that does not lead to an eligible impairment’.