A TEENAGER has told how his foot was turned into his knee - allowing him to play football again as he battles a rare form of bone cancer.

Robbie Readie, 14, had to undergo the complex 13-hour operation after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma - a rare form of bone cancer - last year.

He is only the sixth person in the UK to have the surgery, known as rotationplasty, which involved amputating part of Robbie’s leg and turning his foot into a new knee.

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The youngster, from Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, had the top of his right leg amputated while the lower part was then spun 180 degrees and reattached to the top.

The usual procedure left his ankle pointing backwards, acting as a knee joint - meaning he is able to play football again while using a prosthetic limb.

Brave Robbie said: "My new leg is brilliant.

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"I have just been trying to get myself together and go back to my normal life.

"I am also preparing to get into amputee football because football is my life.

"There was a doubt that I would never play football again but this surgery will let me do that.

"I looked at a few role models that had done it and I knew I did not want to take the chance in keeping my leg in case I lost my life.

"Even my doctor thought it was a good decision, I was over the moon when we both agreed.

"My mum and dad have been so helpful. They have even adapted the house for me.

"I am doing physio just now and I'm coming on well."

Proud mum Avril, 38, said: "Robbie was a keen footballer, he was ready to sign for pro-youth.

"He went on trial for Rangers and Queen’s Park. He could just read the game very well.

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"He is just a fun-loving boy who was very sporty and athletic so this came as a massive shock to us all.

"Since the procedure, I have no words to describe how proud I am of him.

"He is the sixth person in the UK to do this type of operation.

"He just amazes me. I don’t think many adults would cope.

"He has been able to walk without his crutches and he has been out the garden with his dad to have a wee kick about."

The promising footballer was on a family day out in July last year with mum Avril, and dad Robert, 44, when he started having severe leg pain.

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It was so bad, Robbie began shaking and his worried mum immediately called an ambulance.

Robbie was rushed to the Forth Valley Royal Hospital, near Falkirk, where an x-ray showed an abnormality on his right femur which medics later confirmed was a tumour.

He was then transferred to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow for more tests which revealed he had bone cancer.

Devastated Avril, a primary school teacher, said: "Last July we were out at Falkirk Wheel and he said he had a sore leg.

"I thought it was just a muscular pain but I could tell something was not right.

"He sat down and he was shaking which is what made us phone an ambulance.

"In A&E they took an x-ray which showed an abnormality on his right thigh.

"Then the consultant told us Robbie had a tumour.

"He was devastated when he was told he had cancer.

"He knew exactly what it was and he was just in shock and got worried.

"He would ask if he was going to stay alive.

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"I think when people hear the word cancer, it sounds like a death sentence.

"But I remember the consultant asking Robbie if he knew what the word cure means.

"He soon took it in his stride and he has done well."

It was unclear if the chemo was working and medics told Robbie's parents they had three options.

The first was to save his leg, but medics could not guarantee they could fully remove the cancer, the second was to amputate the leg, and the third was rotationplasty.

Avril and husband Robert, a property surveyor, was unsure what the best option would be for their son.

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But the mum-of-three revealed, in the end, it was Robbie who made the decision to get the unique surgery, which doctors performed in October.

Avril, also mum to Tia, ten, and Orla, seven, said: "Robbie woke up one day and he said to his dad he would go for the rotationplasty.

"He said ‘I’m making the decision so that you and mum don’t have to.’

"He said if people were to laugh then he would say ‘the way I see it, it’s my leg or my life’.

"It allows him flexibility and he will be able to play football.”

Robbie will have his last round of chemo next week.