STRICKEN Seasiders’ coach Gary Parkinson has taken another step on the road to recovery after movement was spotted in his hand.
A year after the 43-year-old was left with locked-in syndrome following a massive stroke, wife Deborah said the first signs of movement have been seen in her husband’s fingers.
It is a glimmer of hope for the family, but Mrs Parkinson stressed they are continuing to take Gary’s recovery one day at a time.
She told The Gazette: “It’s just very slight movement.
“It’s not happening all the time, it’s just a one-off we saw his fingers moving.
“We don’t want it to get people carried away, there’s still a long way to go and we’ve got to see that movement more often before we can start saying it’s a breakthrough.
“He was aware he moved his fingers but we don’t want to make a big deal of it and him not be able to do it again.”
Gary has made progress since falling ill and is being cared for in a rehabilitation unit, where he has learnt to communicate with his eyes.
Being “locked-in” means he is aware of everything going on around him but is unable to move or speak.
Mrs Parkinson said: “He’s doing OK, it’s just the frustration and keeping his spirits up.
“He does get down trying to make his body move when it doesn’t because he has been so fit, so that’s the hard part trying to keep his spirits up.”
To mark one-year since Gary fell ill, Blackpool FC boss Ian Holloway has challenged his players to raise money for the family.
The club’s assistant manager Steve Thompson and physio Phil Horner are regular visitors to Gary’s bedside and Mrs Parkinson added: “It’s nice for any visitors to come, that’s what keeps Gary going.
“He’s still keen to know what’s going on and people bring different stories with them.”
Gary’s son Luke has set up a website for people interested in finding out about his dad, which fans can access at www.garyparky.co.uk.