Bleak future for injured young athletes

POSTED: 10/6/11 12:51 PM

St. Maarten / By Milton Pieters – The mothers of Akeem Williams and Gregorio Ritchie are devastated about the condition of their stabbed boys and their boxing coach Shawn Blair is afraid that their injuries may hamper their careers in the ring. Williams and Ritchie received multiple stabs about the body during an altercation with a man and his son.

Williams and Ritchie attend the same school and are more than just casual friends. They played on the same basketball team, played cricket together and represented St. Maarten in amateur boxing on several occasions. This situation has left both their mothers, who are single parents, completely devastated.
Ritchie had just made the national cricket team for the first time. He returned to St. Maarten the night before after a trip to St Kitts and was looking forward to the next opportunity to make the final 11, but his injuries will sideline him from any form of sport for a long time.
“I am in the prayer mode,” Ritchie’s mother Roxanne Dennis said.
“I almost pulled out all the hair in my head when I heard the news, but from what I was told, the father of the boy is too ignorant, he was the one that instigated the whole thing, so let them face the judge. Suppose it was his son that was stabbed? How would he have felt? But God is in charge and even my son knows that when he told me, ‘I have a purpose on this earth while lying on the hospital bed,” Dennis added.
“Akeem is a good child always with a smile on his face. Frankie is a father figure and he should have stepped in as a father figure, but as a single parent that working hard to raise a 19-year-old, I am praying real hard. But my son still has a smile on his face even under his condition” his mother Dianne Williams said.

The distraught woman is not aware of all the facts surrounding the fracas that led to her son and his friend being stabbed and said her son and his friend had been close enough that she knew “Ritchie was a very quiet person.”
CAC Gold Medalist Shawn Blair is the person that is responsible for the duos’ still young boxing careers and said news of the injuries is “a terrible blow.”
“My mind was in complete disarray when I heard the news and that did not make me feel good. When I heard the news my reaction was to ask how he (Williams) was, especially because I’d heard about the girl who got stabbed in French Quarter the night before. My first reaction was to call Ritchie because I know how close he and Williams are, but I did not realize that Ritchie was also stabbed,” Blair said.
He’d add, “Those are my two best boxers and I had plans for them to participate in the Caribbean Championship (CAC) Games this November in Barbados and possibly come home with two gold medals. I trained those boys from nothing and they still had a long way to go now things don’t look so good.”
Blair also said that he still finds it hard to believe that an adult would want to take advantage of two young men in such a violent manner.
“Everyone that knows them, know that they are the cool and calm type that don’t look for problems. I know that there are two sides to any story, but it did not have to reach to that level, now apart from their careers, their lives are threatened,” Blair said.
Next to their injuries the boys and their families also have to deal with the medical bills as they are not insured.

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