'Locked-in syndrome' right-to-die case 'a let-down'

Gary Parkinson Gary Parkinson played for Preston, Burnley and Blackpool

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The son of a former footballer with "locked-in syndrome" has said coverage of a fellow sufferer's right-to-die case has left him feeling let down.

Tony Nicklinson, who has been paralysed for seven years, won the right to proceed with his legal case on Monday.

Luke Parkinson's father, former Burnley and Middlesbrough player and Blackpool coach Gary, has had the condition since suffering a stroke in 2010.

He said when "bad days" happened, it was up to carers "to be more positive".

Mr Nicklinson, who communicates through the use of an electronic board or special computer, said before the ruling that his life was "dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable".

'Sickens me'

Mr Parkinson said in a blog post that he accepted that Mr Nicklinson had "very understandable reasons for thinking as he does".

However, he said he believed "a life is a life and that's the way it should stay", as "there is always something to live for and I 100% agree with that".

He said that while he was glad the condition was being discussed, the media had "gone about raising awareness of locked-in syndrome in the wrong way".

"The news of Tony Nicklinson makes me feel slightly disappointed and let down, as I feel it shows a bad example to the world of locked-in syndrome and its sufferers," he said.

"The possibility of sufferers being able to end their lives sickens me.

"With no offence intended, I hope the laws stay as they are currently regarding euthanasia and assisted suicide."

Mr Parkinson said the media should concentrate on "inspirational people such as Kate Allatt", who recovered from the syndrome and now works to raise awareness of it.

He said, while he could not speak for his father, when "bad days" happened, it was up to carers "to be even more positive".

"Since taking ill, my dad has made some remarkable improvements but is still a long way from making a full recovery and regain the quality of life he once had," he said.

However, he said that even without a full recovery, he said he believed his father could have "an equally as good one in the future".

Despite having the condition, Gary Parkinson has worked as scout for Middlesbrough, a role which Luke said "keeps him positive and shows him there is a life even with a disability".

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