When little Archie Shaw was diagnosed with Perthes Disease his youth sport days seemed numbered.
The hip problem, which means running or jumping could lead to serious injury, left the six-year-old soccer fan sidelined – only able to train in goal with his pals at Spirit of Youth FC.
But the South Shore youngster was determined to keep active and has just completed a 15km Rio challenge at Palatine pool – spending more than 16 hours in the water over the course of 31 days.
The Olympic-themed challenge, set by tracking technology firm Swimtag, involved swimming the distance across Rio bay, in the somewhat safer surroundings of a local pool.
Coaches at Palatine initially insisted Archie, a pupil at Our Lady of the Assumption Primary School, was too young to take on the gruelling test.
But he proved everyone wrong.
Mum Jane, 37, explained: “Archie has done an amazing job.
“When he was diagnosed we thought he might struggle to carry on with his sport.
“But he’s thrown himself into this.
“At first they didn’t want him to try, they said he was too young.
“We had a job convincing them.
“But Archie has been absolutely fantastic.
“He’s been doing 20 lengths a day and finished the challenge within a month.
“I’m so proud of him for doing it.”
Archie, of Sandgate, South Shore, swam with grandma Eileen Shaw and finished his challenge on Wednesday last week - collecting a special certificate from coaches at Palatine Leisure Centre.
Perthes Disease is a childhood disorder which affects the head of the femur .
In Perthes disease the blood supply to the growth plate of the bone at the end of the femur becomes inadequate. As a result the bone softens and breaks down.
Archie will get better over time but for now the Pool, where there isn’t so much pressure put on his joints, will have to take priority over the football pitch.
“We thought Archie would have to give up football completely,” said Jane.
“But right now he’s able to play in goal which is good because he still gets to see his friends and his team mates.
“He will eventually recover and hopefully the swimming will help with that.”
Archie was one of 30 people who took up the Rio challenge at Palatine.
Swimmers across the country have been posting their results online.