By Tony Dewhurst
Dean Sansom, who suffers from Hyperekplexia, a rare neurological disorder, has been rewarded for his contribution to disabled football by winning The Football League Trust Every Player Counts award for London and the South East.
The 17-year-old, who began attending Brentford Football Club's Disability scheme in 2005, was presented with his prize at the 2012 Grassroots Show in Birmingham by England World Cup winner Gordon Banks.
"I have a season ticket at Queens Park Rangers - I love watching them because Adel Taarabt is my favourite player - but winning this award is such a special honour," said Dean.
"I want to thank all the people who have helped me - especially my mum. It has made me very happy."
Dean has had to battle learning and speech difficulties, as well as trouble with moving his muscles, but has progressed well and recently joined Brentford's Kickz outreach project and plays for the London FA Cerebral Palsy team.
Dean's mother, Stephanie, regularly takes him to the sessions and is extremely positive about the impact the award will have on her son.
"He is such a dedicated boy, and the Every Player Counts award will help give him extra confidence and belief in what he is achieving," said Stephanie.
Dean, who lives in Hanwell, attends three Kickz sessions each week and has significantly grown in confidence and developed his self-esteem over the past 12 months.
Initially, a few young people were hesitant of Dean participating in the same session as them but were encouraged by the staff to be respectful.
Indeed, his disorder has encouraged the other young people attending the sessions to become more tolerant and respectful of someone with a disability and Dean's warm personality and his passion for football has been there for all to see.
"The Kickz sessions have helped to develop Dean's social skills, as he's talking to mainstream young people at the session," added his mother Stephanie.
"It's increased his confidence levels, as well as improving his speech and vocabulary greatly.
"Brentford's disability scheme has made a big impact on Dean's life and The Every Player Counts award is the icing on the cake.
"We are all so proud of him because he puts so much effort in every day of his life."
Every Player Counts, a leading project of The Football League Trust, is supported by The Football Pools who donated £2.59m to the project.
The scheme now includes 48 Football League clubs, who are growing disability sport provision across England and Wales.
Football League Trust General Manager Mike Evans said: "Congratulations to Dean on this award, which is thoroughly deserved.
"To have been involved with Brentford for over seven years, progressing through to the London CP team shows a dedication and commitment that the judges were very impressed with.
"Everybody at The Football League Trust and Brentford are very proud of Dean and we wish him all the best for the future."