A SCOTS schoolboy who was born weighing less than two pounds has defied doctors’ expectations by turning into a teenage Thai boxer.
Robbie Young was born at 27 weeks, weighing just 1lb 12oz. He spent the first three months of his life in an incubator and could not even be cuddled by his mother until he was eight weeks.
Medics feared he would not survive and warned that, even if he did, he would grow up with severe disabilities.
But battling Robbie, from Lochgelly, Fife, has astounded doctors and his proud parents, Ann-Marie, 41, and Robert, 49, alike by reaching his teens and excelling in a combat sport.
Robbie, who recently turned 13, is a strapping 5ft 3ins and 10 stone, and already trains at Thai boxing three times a week.
His ambition is to compete in the sport at the highest level.
Remembering Robbie’s birth, 13 weeks early, at Forth Park maternity hospital, Fife, Ann-Marie said: “It was an incredibly traumatic time for the family. My husband Robert and I had been told we couldn’t have children, so when I found out I was pregnant it felt like a miracle.”
The 41-year-old added: “I came home from work one day and realised my leg had swollen up so much that I couldn’t pull the zip up on my boots. I sat down beside the radiator and felt so ill that I couldn’t get back up.
“After I was taken to hospital they found out my blood pressure was through the roof and that my kidneys had started to fail. They delivered Robbie by C-section to save both our lives.”
Ann-Marie said: “Robbie was so tiny he was actually transparent. He couldn’t cry and he wasn’t breathing as his chest and lungs had not developed. He had no fingernails or eyelashes and when I first saw him he was completely covered in tubes.
“It was devastating. The doctors didn’t know if he would survive and they told me that every day was a bonus.”
After a stint in the special care unit at Forth Park hospital, Robbie was transferred to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.
With the help of medics, Robbie became stronger everyday and within eight weeks Ann-Marie was able to give him his first cuddle.
She said: “He was a wee fighter. He had to deal with so much. He had to have an operation for a hernia at three months old and even when we eventually took him home he still had a machine in the house and portable oxygen bottle to help him breathe.”
She added: “Robbie does have epilepsy but he has been seizure-free for almost two years and he is a big, strapping teenage lad.”
He enjoys Thai boxing sessions at Highlanders Gym in nearby Cowdenbeath three times a week.
An extremely physical sport, Thai boxing is known as “the art of eight weapons” because participants use their fists, elbows, knees, shins and feet in combat.
Ann-Marie added: “He absolutely loves it. It’s amazing to think he was such a tiny baby, and now Robbie is hoping to start entering competitions.
“He has become a big, healthy teenager and as long as he’s sensible and remains seizure-free then he can hopefully achieve incredible things with his Thai boxing.”