Friday, April 19, 2013

Tim Howard - tending goal with Tourette's Syndrome

Tourette's syndrome hasn't stopped pro soccer player Tim Howard from becoming one of the best goalkeepers in the game.

Few people understand the stigma of Tourette's syndrome (TS) as well as Tim Howard, whose condition was mocked by the English press when the American goalkeeper first moved overseas to play for professional club Manchester United in 2003.

A longtime stalwart for the U.S. World Cup soccer team who now plays with pro club Everton, Howard was often called "retarded" by British tabloids because of his TS.

Today, Howard brushes off those slights as "ignorance" on the part of people trying to sell newspapers.

But those headlines were not the only way Howard's condition was remarked on publicly.

English fans traditionally make up songs about players on the field.

While Howard's nationality is frequently targeted in the songs about him, so is his TS.

In fact, Howard's own fans while he was at Manchester United concluded their chant about Tim - sung to the tune of "Chim, Chim, Cher-ee" from Mary Poppins with the chorus, "Tim, Tim, Timery says F-you!"

While Howard is able to laugh off the songs - even going so far as to call the Manchester chant a "warm embrace" of his condition - they exemplify both the stigma TS can entail and the misunderstanding that many people have about the symptoms.

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